A Heartbreaking ChildhoodMay 24th, 2010 at 5:00 pm by Patrece Dayton under Fostering Hope
When I met 14 year old Joe Lofton, all I saw was my own son. I have a 14 year old son. In fact, they attended school together and know each other. But, talking to Joe was like talking to my own son.
He is an amazing young man with huge goals in life, yet he has suffered such a heartbreaking childhood it made my want to cry. In and out of 10 different foster homes in the last 5 1/2 years! Never having one place to truly call home.
For several days after I met Joe, he is all I could think of. I woke up wondering if he was doing ok. I hoped he was having fun the night I knew he was to attend a birthday party with new friends.
What I quickly came to realize through my stories, is that unfortunately Joe’s story is not all that uncommon in the Wabash Valley. There are currently more than 450 children just in Vigo County in the system with Department of Child Services. Not all of them are in foster homes, but many of them are. Rescued by DCS so that they have a chance at a better life. A life away from drugs, abuse, neglect.
Joe Loften, I hope, has finally found a good foster home with Elaine Moore. The two of them seem to get a long well and they keep each other company. And, the smaller school environment in Rockville could be just what Joe needs to truly succeed. He is excited about his new school, his new friends and his new foster family. I plan on keeping up with this young man to hear all about his successes!
But, unfortunately there are dozens more teenagers in our community who have not found a compatible home. They need someone to believe in them and show them they care.
If you are thinking about, or have thought about becoming a foster parent I urge you to think about it again and seriously consider it! These kids are generally not bad kids, they just come from parents who have made bad decisions.
There is financial assistance from CPS to help pay for taking care of these teens. There’s even a special account for special teen events like the prom and visits to prospective colleges. And if paying for another college education is what’s stopping you, there is great financial aid available to foster kids.
Karen Henderson from Ivy Tech Community College in Terre Haute graciously sent me information on college aid. She says being an “independent” student for student aid purposes allows foster kids to be eligible for higher financial aid and loans. Simply ask your school counselor or the college that the teenager is considering about help.
If you’d like more information about being a foster parent, please call either Megan Cottrell or Teresa Gray at 812-448-8731 or Vigo County DCS at 812-234-0100.