March 22, 2013 at 3:47 PM
Extend foster care to age 21
Foster parenting has specific challenges
I would like to respond to a letter to the editor titled “Foster children should not receive exceptions,” [Northwest Voices, March 18] that was written in response to an op-ed headlined “Allow kids in foster care to age 21” [Opinion, March 15].
I would like to point out that being a foster parent is incredibly difficult, even without financial support. Foster families are not just “any family.” Foster parenting is filled with challenges and opportunities. It can be challenging to parent children with difficult histories. Being a foster parent is an opportunity to take care of children who benefit greatly from love and support. Foster parents change lives one child at a time. They believe in investing in the future of disadvantaged kids living in Washington state.
I hope this helps clarify questions or confusion surrounding this important social-injustice issue.
–Ed Boyle, Seattle
Extending foster care is a moral obligation
As a foster parent to two boys, ages 9 and 14, I wholeheartedly endorse the ongoing effort to extend foster care to age 21 for youth who need it most.
Foster children are under the legal custody of the state. My role as a foster parent is to provide shelter, care and support to those placed into my home, while the state seeks a permanent placement. I do not do this for the money; in fact I spend thousands out of pocket every year to support the needs of the foster children under my care. I do it gladly because these children deserve a safe and stable home.
However, when the state’s obligation to these youth ends at age 18, I lose more than just the payments — foster youth lose the support services that help address any special needs they may have. Most foster families simply can’t afford to keep these kids, as much as they would like to help.
Giving foster youth a chance to succeed by extending foster care to 21 is not just a sound investment, it is also our moral obligation to them.
–Yossi Banai, foster parent and a Mockingbird Society board member, Redmond
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