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  • PATRICK'S PEOPLE: Scott and Lisa Woosley have taken to being foster parents

  • Scott and Lisa Woosley had talked for years about doing foster care.  Then the southeast Kansas couple did something about it.

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  • Scott and Lisa Woosley had talked for years about doing foster care. Then the southeast Kansas couple did something about it.
    “We contacted TFI Family Services about classes, and took it from there,” Lisa Woosley said.
    The free Partnering for Safety and Permanence Model Approach to Parenting (PS-MAPP) training is designed to help interested persons make an informed decision about becoming a resource foster care parent.
    “We took the classes in February of 2012, and they were not difficult at all. There were 10 weeks of classes, every Tuesday evening for just a few hours. We got to meet other people looking to be foster parents and made some new friends. We really enjoyed it.”
    She and her husband have four children of their own, along with seven grandchildren.
    “We didn’t need more children in our family, but there are children out there who need families, and we can provide that short-term,” Woosley said. “It’s very rewarding.”
    She said they currently have four foster children, all girls, aged 10 to 16.
    “Four other girls were placed here, and two have returned to their homes,” Woosley said. “We still keep in touch with them, and one of them spent the night here recently. Once you walk through our door, you’re part of our family, even if it is just extended family.”
    She said that her grandchildren are always excited when it’s time to visit Gram’s house.
    “They really like to see the other kids,” Woosley said.
    She said that so far they have fostered girls.
    “The few calls I’ve got for boys have come when we were full of girls,” Woosley said.
    She and her husband strive to help the youngsters feel comfortable as soon as they arrive.
    “I ask what their favorite food is, and try to have that food for their first meal here,” Woosley said. “I find out what their favorite color is, and try to get bedding in that color. We just try to do some small thing to make them feel welcome when they get here.”
    Some youngsters come from unhappy situations and may have issues.
    “You have to support them and try to build their self-esteem back up, meet them where they’re at and build on their strengths,” Woosley said. “We had one 10-year-old who was very apprehensive about male figures, so Scott built on what her strengths were. She loved to cook, so he baked cookies with her.”
    Some children, she said, have had to be mini-adults in their home situations.
    “They don’t know how to play, and we have to teach them that,” Woosley said. “We just try to give them a kid experience. We use a lot of humor in our house, and some kids who come to our home haven’t experienced a lot of laughter. We have structure here, but we’re not a boot camp. We work together for the common good as a team.”
    Page 2 of 2 - That team may include others in the community.
    “We had to build a village to support our kids,” Woosley said. “My hairdresser will give them haircuts, and one of our girls got a beautiful hairstyle for prom.”
    She and her husband try to keep the youngsters social and involved in activities around the community. They also encourage them to continue pursuing their own interests when that’s possible.
    “One girl plays clarinet, but she couldn’t bring her clarinet here,” Woosley said. “We went and got her one so she could continue it.”
    Foster parents do receive monthly reimbursement, depending on the level of care a child requires. TFI Family services also provides a yearly clothing allowance, along with assistance with Christmas gifts and special needs items.
    Foster families have their own case manager as well as 24-hour local on-call support.
    “I call my resource worker once a day with a question,” Woosley said.
    Respite care can also be arranged when foster parents need someone to temporarily take care of their foster children.
    Woosley noted that she and her husband have taken in respite children several times. However, when Scott Woosley was recently hospitalized, his wife turned down TFI’s offer of respite services. She felt that the foster children could learn something very valuable by remaining in the home with her.
    “I think it’s important kids learn to deal with a crisis without dysfunction,” Woosley said. “This is how a family operates in time of need. We all pitch in and support one another.”
    Parenting experience is not required to become a resource care foster parent. Interested persons must be at least 21, have a permanent residence, an outside source of income and be a legal U.S. citizen. They must complete the PS-MAPP training course and pass Kansas Bureau of Investigation and Child Abuse Registry background checks. Their home must pass inspection and be licensed by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to ensure that it is safe and suitable for children. Finally, interested persons must be sponsored by a child placing agency.
    Anyone needing additional information may call TFI Family Services, Inc., at 800-279-9914 or online at www.tfifamilyservices.org.

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