Could I be a foster parent?
Foster parents are needed who can provide temporary care to babies and young children who are in the process of reunification with their birth families; who can accommodate larger sibling groups to allow these siblings to remain connected in the same home; and who can provide care for older youth with challenging behaviors resulting from their exposure to traumatic events. Families are also needed for older children for whom reunification with their birth families is no longer an available option and for whom an adoptive family is being sought.
Don’t let any of these “can’t” myths stop you.
Singles, same sex couples, unmarried couples, empty nesters and growing families are all welcome to learn more about becoming a foster/adoptive parent. Don’t let your status stop you!
It is not necessary to own a home to become a licensed foster/adoptive family. You may rent or own an apartment or a house as long as there is adequate space to add another person. It is even possible for some children to share a bedroom.
DHHS provides financial support to offset the costs of raising a child. There is also emotional support and training to help you through the rough patches. Children adopted from foster care may be eligible for a financial subsidy, and many qualify for financial aid for college.
Many foster parents are also working parents. If you don’t feel ready to become a full time foster parent, maybe short term respite or emergency care is a better fit for you.
Are You Wondering?
Children enter foster care through no fault of their own. Due to a number of reasons, at least in the moment, their parents are unable to care them. Many children entering foster care will be reunited with their birth parents or extended family members. Other children will need an adoptive home and sometimes foster parents become their child’s adoptive family.
Children in foster care range from 0 to 21 years old, have experienced trauma, and may have a hard time trusting adults. Some children may have emotional or physical challenges which have the best outcomes when they are part of a family.
There is a special need for foster parents who can provide care to babies and young children while supporting the work of reunification with their birth families, for foster parents able to welcome sibling groups of three or more children, and for older youth.
Foster families are connected with a DHHS licensing staff and have regular contact with a case worker. There are peer supports, support groups, events, and a community of foster families across the state that support one another, with additional supports available.
Not ready to be licensed?
Here are a few ways you can help support children in foster care!
1.Talk to friends and family about foster care — they may be inspired!
2. Invite a recruiter to speak to a community group or set up a table at an event
3. Volunteer to hang fliers in your community
4. Volunteer to staff a table
Contact us for more information!
“The well-being of our children continues to be a top priority for this Department. It is undeniable that foster parents play a crucial role in caring for vulnerable children. Sometimes it’s on a short term basis where they assist in the important process of reunification. Other times, they explore more long term options—making these children a permanent part of their family through adoption. Whatever role they play, they have the ability to make a positive impact on the lives of Maine children during the most difficult of times.”
Who is A Family for ME?
A Family for ME is a partnership between the Department of Health and Human Services and Spurwink Services, with the focus of raising awareness of the urgent need and finding Maine families who are willing and able to parent children in foster care.
Meet The Staff
Rebecca Beal is a Licensed Social Worker with 25 years of experience in the field. Her background includes 11 years recruiting and supporting foster/adoptive parents in Maine. She applies that experience to her current position as the Program Supervisor of A Family for ME. Rebecca and four recruiters strive to raise awareness throughout Maine about the need for foster families.
Nick Patides is a former IT Recruiter and Account Manager who graduated from the University of South Florida. Nick’s fiancé was adopted by a wonderful loving family and he has seen firsthand the importance and power of foster care and adoption. Nick is passionate about serving our Maine children in need. For this reason, Nick left behind the IT world to use his know-how where it matters most. Nick is the A Family for ME Program Supervisor for Southern Maine and a recruiter for Waldo and Knox counties.
A Family for ME Community Outreach Coordinator Christine Brown has more than 25 years experience working with children in a variety of professional settings. She is a graduate of the University of Southern Maine. Christine began her employment at Spurwink Services in 2014 as a Treatment Foster Care Support Specialist, and recently added the position of Community Outreach Coordinator for A Family for ME.
Kasey McDonough is the A Family for ME Recruiter covering western Maine. She is a graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology with a BFA in Photojournalism. Kasey chose to enter a field that benefits children after joining Americorps where she worked with children who were at-risk. Since then, she has been devoted to serving youth in many ways including managing a group home for at-risk youth, working with children in therapeutic foster care, and providing behavior management intervention for children and their families. Kasey comes to the A Family for ME program with a passion to help Maine’s most vulnerable population and believes that every child deserves a safe and loving home.
Stephanie Eklund, a former and long-standing advocate for victims of domestic violence, joined A Family for ME as a foster/adoptive parent recruiter in Southern Maine. Stephanie brings with her a wealth of knowledge regarding recruitment, collaborative efforts with community members, public speaking and training, volunteer engagement, and helping people in need. In her personal time, Stephanie enjoys reading, working out, traveling, and spending time with her family.
Amy Bergeron applies her 15 years’ experience in the fields of recruitment and human resources to assist the A Family for ME team in spreading awareness regarding the critical need for resource parents in Maine. Amy is the A Family for ME recruiter covering Penobscot, Piscataquis and Aroostook Counties. Amy enjoys spending her personal time with her family, pets and various civic/volunteer commitments.
“The opioid epidemic continues to harm our families and communities—often leaving children without proper care or a stable home. At the Department of Health and Human Services, we are committed to ensuring that every child has the safe and supportive home they deserve. We have seen the important role foster families have and we are asking more Mainers to do the same by opening their hearts and homes to children in need.”
A few success stories
There are many positive experiences and outcomes from fostering. Although we could not begin to capture all of them, here are a few examples from foster parents, and children who have been fostered.
Reaching out is the first step to changing a child’s life.
Fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch with you.
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) does not discriminate on the basis of race or color, sex, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, genetic information, religion, age, ancestry or national origin, whistleblower activity, or marital status in admission to, access to, or operations of its programs, services, or activities, or its hiring or employment practices. This notice is provided as required by Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and in accordance with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Food Stamp Act of 1977, as amended, and the Maine Human Rights Act and Executive Order Regarding State of Maine Contracts for Services. Questions, concerns, complaints or requests for additional information regarding the ADA and programs, services, or activities may be forwarded to DHHS’ ADA /Civil Rights Coordinator, #11 State House Station, Augusta, Maine 04333, 207-287-5014 (V). Questions, concerns, complaints or requests for additional information regarding the ADA and hiring or employment practices may be forwarded to DHHS’ ADA/EEO Coordinators, #11 State House Station, Augusta, Maine 04333, 207-287-4289 (V) or 207-287-1871. TTY users call Maine relay 711. Individuals who need auxiliary aids for effective communication in program and services of DHHS are invited to make their needs and preferences known to the ADA /Civil Rights Coordinator. This notice is available in alternate formats, upon request.