We've reached out to our Therapeutic Foster Parents asking them to share their stories, experiences, and reasons for opening their homes to the children of AK Child & Family. This first testimonial is from Mama Sisay, currently a Therapeutic Foster Parent and former staff of AK Child & Family's Community Programs.
Q: How initially did you get into Therapeutic Foster Care? How long have you been doing foster care?
A: I started doing foster care in 2006 for Denali Family Services and the state Office of Children’s Services. I transferred to AK Child & Family in 2009. Previous to providing foster care I was a Case Manager in different areas of social services. There are so many children in this community who need care and assistance. One night, as a Case Manager, I was searching for a home for a child on my caseload and there were no homes for her. It was frustrating and heartbreaking. I thought in my mind, "I have two empty rooms in my home; why not help a child in need of a home?" I am a foster parent because there are so many children in need of homes, love, assistance and care. I help prepare them for adulthood and give them a place to call home.
Q: What are the successes and challenges of being a Therapeutic Foster Parent?
A: What is so rewarding for me is the lasting relationships I have with the kids who have been in my home and learning from the children. I just had a baby shower for one of my previous girls. Her whole family came to dinner. She is getting married, has a job and a car. I am so proud of her and I feel blessed that I get to watch her thrive and become a mother. You learn so much for the children in your home, such as patience and how to build positive relationships.
Challenges for me as a foster parent is when biological families do not want to participate in treatment; or in general miscommunications with members on the treatment team.
Q: Is there anything you would like for potential Therapeutic Foster Parents to know?
A: I would want them to know they will be in good hands if they decide to be a Foster Parent for AK Child & Family. They will get the support they need, whether the support is through a Case Manager, Licensing Coordinator or Activity Therapist. I consider AK Child & Family a family, and I feel like a part of that family.