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!
“All children deserve to be safe, happy and healthy as part of a loving forever family,” said Todd Landry, Director of the Maine Office of Child and Family Services. “We extend our gratitude to all adoptive families in Maine and invite anyone interested in opening their home to a Maine child or youth to contact A Family for ME.”
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
Jaynelle Smith is the Recruitment Supervisor for A Family for ME. Her experience includes services to children and families with Spurwink’s treatment foster care program. She has spent the last 20 years of her career working with communities to educate them on the need for foster care in Maine. She enjoys professional networking and advocating for healthy environments for children. She has a master’s degree in Public Health and is a licensed social worker for the State of Maine. In her personal time, Jaynelle loves running, yoga, kayaking, boating, camping, traveling, and anything that involves her family.
Stephanie Eklund is the Recruitment Specialist for York, Cumberland & Sagadahoc counties. She is a former and long-standing advocate for victims of domestic violence. 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.
Kasey McDonough is the Recruitment Specialist for Kennebec and Somerset counties. She is a graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology. Kasey is an Americorps alumnus with previous experience in group home management, therapeutic foster care, and working with children with special needs. Kasey joined the AFfME team to pursue her passion for helping children find safe and loving homes. In her personal time, Kasey is an artist who enjoys spending time with her family on the water.
Amy Bergeron is the Recruitment Specialist for Penobscot, Piscataquis, and Aroostook counties. She applies her 15 years of 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 enjoys spending her personal time with her family, pets, and various civic/volunteer commitments.
Patricia Tate is a Recruitment Specialist for Hancock, Washington, Waldo, Knox and Lincoln counties. She graduated from the University of Maine in Orono. She brings with her experience as a Recruiter and a Behavior Health Professional. She believes every child deserves a place to call home. In her personal time, Patricia enjoys spending time at the lake with family and friends swimming, boating, kayaking and bike riding
Christine Brown is the Recruitment Specialist for Androscoggin, Oxford, and Franklin counties, and is also the Community Outreach Coordinator for A Family for ME. 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 added the role of Community Outreach Coordinator in 2019. She has more than 25 years of experience working with children in a variety of professional settings and currently manages the AFfME volunteer program. In her free time, Christine enjoys kayaking and home improvement projects.
Crista Jakacky is the Marketing and Communications Specialist for A Family for Me. She has spent the last two decades in small business management in the food and beverage industry, and also has a background in sales. She has studied Media and Communications at Beal University and the University of Maine at Augusta. She is passionate about social justice causes, music, writing, and anything to do with the arts. Crista performs locally in a musical duo act, and spends much of her spare time writing, graphic designing, or working on home improvement projects. What she loves most though, is spending time with her family.
“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.