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“It’s about being there and standing in for a parent.” - former foster child and current foster parent discusses need in the community

Published: May. 20, 2022 at 6:16 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Chani Andrews knows firsthand how important a positive role model can be to any child, but especially to one in the foster system. Being a former foster child herself, she says she knew she wanted to eventually become a foster parent far before she was old enough to be eligible to.

“I had great foster parents. But I did go through several homes first before I landed into my final foster home,” said Andrews.

She has seven children. Three are adopted through Four Oaks Family Connections.

This May, Foster Care Awareness Month, they are placing emphasis on the importance and need for foster homes in the community.

“We do try to recruit specifically people who have patience, people who have space in their homes, people who have space in their hearts, people who have good communication skills and are willing to open their homes to a child in need,” said Caseworker Tonya Watters.

Beyond those qualifications -- and needing to be 21 or older -- they are in need of foster parents of all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life. Because even with the various willing and fitting foster parents in the community, children can often be placed in several different homes before finding the right one, if at all.

“It’s a struggle when we can’t find the right match for a child and so I really feel passionately about having as many diverse individuals in our community to step forward,” said Watters.

For those qualified, but on the fence about fostering, Andrews’ advice is simple:

“Go for it. You don’t have to start out with six kids in your home. Just being there for one single child, one single family, because you’re not just there for the child, you’re there for their family.”

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