Nunatsiaq Online
LETTERS: Nunavut June 11, 2012 - 6:41 am

Nunavut foster parents aren’t in it for the money

NUNATSIAQ NEWS

I encourage Nunavummiut to consider foster parenting. It is well-known that we have many children in our communities who live in troubled homes.

Substance abuse, domestic violence, and child sexual abuse persist in our communities. Food insecurity has become a much-discussed issue in every community, and rightly so. FASD continues to plague our society.

The members of our society most affected by these conditions are the children who witness and experience these things every day.

Police officers, social workers, educators, and other front-line workers can tell you stories of their experiences that would chill your blood.

Too often, children are involved in these stories. Children who are victimized are much more likely to grow up and become abusers themselves.

We all know this. We all want to see things change. While community institutions, Inuit organizations, and governments all have a role to play in addressing these issues, the immediate needs of children from troubled homes should not have to wait for institutional solutions to be developed and implemented.

Healing the personal, societal, and cultural wounds that we’ve suffered will take generations. Meanwhile, there are children in every community that require a safe, healthy, and above all stable home to grow up in.

Most children we’ve taken in are usually one or more of the following: malnourished, skittish, fearful of adults (usually men), aggressive, victims of FASD, developmentally delayed, lagging in education, undisciplined, or emotionally compromised.

At first, these conditions can make raising a foster child challenging as these issues manifest themselves in different ways.
However, once a child realizes that they don’t have to be fearful anymore, that there is always going to be food available to them, and that they won’t have to hide anywhere to get away from drunks or violence, their behavior always improves and they regain the innocence children are supposed to have.

Providing structure and stability, and teaching children what is acceptable and what is expected of them seems like a no-brainer. For the most part, this is what foster-parents do, the same things you do for your own children every day.

If you have a safe, stable, loving home please consider fostering. Social workers are easy to approach and speak to, and they are to be commended for their hard work, at all hours of the day and night.

Whenever a discussion around fostering takes place, critics invariably accuse foster parents of “being in it for the money.” While I can’t speak to every case, I can tell you that every foster parent I’ve met is caring and genuinely concerned about the well-being of their foster children.

If people think money is the primary motivating factor for foster parents, I can tell you that I could easily make more money at a part-time job working fewer hours and dealing with less stress than I do raising foster children.

Please don’t cheapen the discussion with these accusations, and please recognize the dedication and commitment of foster parents in your community.

For the sake of my family’s privacy, and the privacy of children in my care, please don’t print my name.

(Name withheld by request)
Iqaluit



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