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Can Trained, Paid Peer Support Help New York City Keep Foster Parents? []


By Megan Conn, The Chronicle of Social Change, December 2, 2019

When Roxanne Williams became a foster parent four years ago, she started in the deep end of the parenting pool. New York City child welfare workers brought her a boy with limited English on a Friday afternoon and left after confirming her home was safe, leaving Williams to muddle through their first days together on her own.

“It was rough – you weren’t getting the calls back [from her foster care agency] as fast as you wanted because they had other kids to deal with, so I was bombarding the placement department,” Williams said. “I had my notes, but when the reality hit me and I have a stranger in my home, it was like, what do I do next? I really needed and wanted someone to walk me through it and hold my hand.”

Being a foster parent brings a host of challenges, and nationally, half of foster parents quit after the first year. That’s why New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration announced last month it wants to expand programs connecting foster parents with more experienced caregivers who can step in on short notice to provide childcare, transportation and moral support.

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