Being a foster parent has so many great rewards, such as knowing that you’re making a difference in a child’s life as well as seeing that child grow into a thriving, happier youth. Trinity Youth Services’ Intensive Services Foster Care (ISFC) Program is comprised of at-risk youth who need extra support services to effectively cope with trauma, so that they can engage in positive behaviors, and receive the mental health services that they need in a loving, home-based environment.
One of our foster parent heroes is Charlene Mitchell, a devoted parent in our ISFC Program whose passion is helping children. Charlene chose Trinity Youth Services as her Foster Care Agency after someone she knew referred her. According to Charlene, “I chose Trinity because someone highly recommended the agency to me. After I checked them out, I believed in them as well.”
Charlene is currently raising four youth, ages 15, 17, 18, and 19, and has been a foster parent for close to 20 years, and a certified ISFC parent for four years. Fostering children has helped Charlene find a new purpose in life.
“The reason why I decided to become a foster parent is because I have empty nest syndrome. My children are all adults now, and most have left the nest. Therefore, I would be a pretty lonesome person without being a foster parent. I enjoy working with children, so this gives me an opportunity after retirement age to continue to be a productive citizen and give back to the community,” says Charlene.
Charlene’s advice about successfully raising foster children includes giving them your time. According to Charlene, “A key to my success working with foster children is that I give them one-on-one time. This helps us to bond which is important, because if you’re not bonded to the children, you don’t get as much of a favorable response.”
Of her four foster children, two receive ISFC services. Describing her day-to-day experience, Charlene states, “Each child is unique, so no days are typical. Subsequently, you will experience having to be available for numerous services for your ISFCs. Time may be one of the biggest challenges of all,” she says. “The challenges that I receive with all four of my children are typically social, emotional and developmental concerns. Foster parents have to implement the educational skills they received during their foster parent training. Nonetheless, there is no one set formula for facilitating foster children to work through their issues.
“I have a big home, and all my children have their own rooms. This helps the children to adjust, due to having their own space and down time. As a matter of fact, the space allows me to have my own downtime as well. Many foster parents need this debriefing time and recovery,” says Charlene.
Giving children time to adjust, giving them their own space, as well as taking time for yourself as a foster parent, are three ways that you can care for the children in your home.
As an ISFC Resource Parent, you are truly making a difference in the lives of our future leaders. Teens need guidance, love and support from caring adults who can see their potential, and invest in their futures.
If you’re considering opening your home to a teen, and are passionate about give a youth a better future, consider signing up for a Foster Parent Orientation. Please call 310-291-3889, or click here to start the process right now!
Eve Powers, Foster Care Marketing Specialist
Eve has a strong commitment to helping foster youth and their families thrive and live successful lives. A former foster youth, Eve obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degree in Communications from California State University, San Bernardino, and is a certified Holistic Life Coach, motivational writer, self-help author and celebrity interviewer. Beyond the Trinity Youth Services blog, Eve’s articles can be found in numerous platforms including Foster Focus Magazine, Heart & Soul Magazine, BET Centric and Huffington Post. A passionate advocate for the LGBTQ community, Eve continues to educate, support and mentor foster youth throughout Southern California.