Foster families take on the full job of a being a parent when a child in need of care is brought into their homes, so outings and opportunities to do fun things with the children are always welcome.
Recruitment specialist Jessica Dutton, with TFI Family Services, said part of her job is to find activities for foster families to do together - whether as a family or with other foster families.
"We were looking for a way for the community to connect with our families," she said about the opportunity for foster families to go mini-golfing on Sunday afternoon.
"I just called and asked because I was looking for a way of supporting our families and kids," Dutton said.
She talked to Randy Dawson, clubhouse manager for the Four Oaks Golf Course, who was glad to help out.
"She told me who she was with and what they’re doing it for, and I said, ‘Sure,’" Dawson said. "This is probably the first time we’ve ever participated in something like this."
Dutton said about 30 families were invited to come and play a round between 2 and 4 p.m. Sunday.
One family was Aimee McClure and her son, Tristen.
"He’s been with me since he was six weeks old," McClure said, adding that she studied to do special education in schools and began fostering because she has a heart for children.
She said she and Tristen have been down a road that hasn’t always been easy, but that it led to his adoption last fall.
"I was having some issues with housing, so they were going to pull him from me," Aimee said.
She said her mother stepped in and helped make sure Tristen was able to stay with Aimee, and that Tristen’s adoption was finalized Sept. 18, 2012.
"I’ve had other kids in my home, but they’ve either gone back to their families or been adopted," Aimee said.
However, Tristen, who said his favorite sport is golf, won her heart in a different way.
"I just got attached," Aimee said.
The two got to indulge Tristen in his favorite sport through Sunday’s outing.
"Jessica notified me. They sent out fliers," Aimee said. "He’s very excited. He loves miniature golf."
Dutton said she works to find outings for the families.
"We pay attention to things that are free events that they can plug in to," she said, adding that there are an average of 83 children in foster situations at any time in Crawford County.
Dutton said she also is always looking for foster parents who are able to pass a background check, spend a night a week for 10 weeks doing mandatory training and who are 21 years of age or older.
"(As far as) commitment levels, it’s going to be an everyday thing," Dutton said, adding that it is essentially the same as parenting, but that the children have medical cards and must receive care according to state guidelines.
"There is a a huge need for police protective custody homes," Dutton said, adding that emergency homes and respite homes share the same need.
"These would be acute stays," she said.
Dutton said potential foster parents are able to have a huge impact during an acute stay, but must be able to provide for the child’s needs in a gentle manner.
Additionally, she recruits long-term foster families, who may have children staying with them for a year or more and potentially can be considered as adoptive parents.