Most of us find it hard to imagine the challenges that face children in the foster care system, as it has often been a concept that we’ve heard about, but haven’t had an opportunity to immerse ourselves in.
For children, suddenly moving homes, changing guardians and facing the challenges of an unknown future create an incredible amount of fear and anxiety.
The trauma that can set in during these times of transition can be extremely detrimental to the well-being of the child in both the short-term and long-term. When a child is removed from their home due to suspected abuse and/or neglect by a law enforcement officer and an employee from the Department of Children, Youth, and Families, the children head down to the local DCYF, where they stay until they are matched with an appropriate foster care family.
During these hours (sometimes days, in larger cities), children typically spend the time with office staff. They are well taken care of. However, the office staff needs to be able to spend that time working hard to find the child/children a foster family. This is when Office Moms & Dads volunteers step in.
While the staff at DCYF is working to find placement for the child, OMD volunteers come into the office, with the goal of creating a safe and loving space for the child while they wait to meet their foster family. Watching movies, changing diapers, rocking babies, feeding babies bottles, getting ice cream sundaes, giving manicures, coloring, doing puzzles, all while exuding a calm energy can help the children by, minimally, not creating more trauma during this time.
Volunteers can respond to requests as often or as seldom as they would like once they complete the initial background check and training. When volunteering, adults are asked to use the resources at the DCYF office to play with children and meet physical needs as they arise.
OMD volunteers never leave the office with the children, nor do they transport children. Our volunteers are not therapists, simply people who are present to help children feel more comfortable in an uncomfortable time and environment.
Office Moms & Dads — officemomsanddads.com — is an organization in Washington and Idaho that works to help offset the effects of trauma that takes place in these times. Office Moms & Dads is a grassroots, volunteer-based 501©3 organization that serves foster children who have recently been removed from their homes.
Original article can be found here.