Building a Coalition to Help Foster Parents and Children

Governor Matt Bevin and Bryan Proctor

Governor Matt Bevin and Bryan Proctor

Last month, director of advocacy for 127 Worldwide and the director of the LIGHT Center, Bryan Proctor, attended 874k Coalition Rally for disabled Kentuckians and met with Governor Bevin and state representatives to bring attention to problems associated with the state foster care system.  Bryan, who has fostered a young girl and adopted her later on, has experienced first hand the issues and disorders that children can have when going through the foster system.  A friend recommended him to go to the rally as a way to advocate for foster children.

According to Bryan, children that go through the foster care system usually experience a very negative home life, including multiple forms of abuse. However, they also feel at least one major break of attachment when removed from their birth parents and possibly multiple breaks if they’re placed in multiple foster homes.

If the child doesn’t receive nurturing and care from the birth parents from birth to around the age of three and is removed from the birth home, that child may develop a condition called Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD).  According to Bryan, his daughter currently suffers from this disorder which creates difficulty for the child to connect with the foster/adopted parents.

Children with RAD fail to understand what a healthy attachment is and won’t attach to the foster/adopted parents.  Many don’t know what love is or don’t want to be loved as they fear losing another parent.  And if they have been abused, they may not be able to channel the anger and frustration in a normal way.  In total, children with RAD will act out in very unpredictable ways, trying to distance themselves from their foster/adopted parents and creating very negative behavior.

When Bryan joined the foster care system, he found his newly fostered daughter severely affected by RAD.  And, he found the education and support system provided by the state to be lacking.  The state doesn’t require psychological evaluation or help for the fostered child nor does it educate foster parents enough about RAD.

Because of the lack of requirements from the state, Bryan found that there were limited special professionals in the state that could help children with RAD.  Although the state does pay for psychological help for foster children, a foster parent has to go through many general care professionals before they’re allowed to go out of state for specific treatment for RAD.

On top of all this, when a foster parent officially adopts a fostered child, that parent will lose almost all of the resources they get through the foster system.  So, Bryan, who is also apart of the Salt River Trail Foster Care Network Team which is a point of contact and help for foster families in the region, has decided to talk with government officials and form a coalition of foster parents to help encourage the state government to not only require psychological care for foster children but also have better training and encouraging more professionals to practice in the state.

From jasonjohnsonblog.com

From jasonjohnsonblog.com

On request from state representatives like James Tipton and Reginald Meeks, Bryan has done research, seeing what other states and organizations do to help foster parents.  From his research, he has found that building a support group around the foster family to be extremely beneficial.  Having three Respite care providers, which are for short term care, gives the foster family a short break.  Bryan also feels that there needs to be a holistic care for foster homes like a full wrap around support system, providing simple helping measures during stressful times.

Bryan is looking to reach out to other foster parents on this issue and form a group to help petition the state government to help foster parents and children.  If you’re interested in joining, you can contact him at 859-509-1999 or at bryan@127worldwide.org.

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