New Hampshire Stories of the Heart rose heart graphic

A Collection of Family Centered Foster Care Stories

INTRODUCTION

The New Hampshire Division for Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) has made a commitment to provide Family Centered Services to support families and their children during times of crisis. We recognize that all families have strengths as well as weaknesses and we are dedicated to providing services while respecting the dignity of the family. Family Centered Foster Care is an important part of Family Centered Services. Family Centered Foster Parents provide encouragement and role modeling for the parents of the child in foster care.

The first issue of the "White Heron," one of the New Hampshire foster parent newsletters, contained the following haiku by an anonymous author:

"If the white heron
Had no voice,
It would be lost
In the falling snow."

It seemed appropriate to repeat it here, as foster parents and other contributors begin to tell their "Stories of the Heart," that the voices of these special people not be lost, while recognizing that many of the parents of children in foster care feel that they, too, have no voice and are lost as well. Foster parents can help these parents by remaining non-judgmental and by encouraging them to practice parenting their children with consistency as well as with love.

The stories that follow are the result of interviews carried out among those New Hampshire foster parents and the other special people who allowed me to witness a brief "bird's eye" view of their life. Although their stories are unique, there are many more stories out there which remain untold for the time being. All of them demonstrate the intense degree of caring and investment these families have in trying to make things better for the children in their care and for their families.

Please note that the names of all children and other contributors have been changed to protect the privacy and confidentiality of all concerned. The stories are true and have only been adjusted to ensure confidentiality.

This opportunity has taught me many things and has reinforced, for me, the value of Family Centered Foster Care and how very hard our New Hampshire foster families work to provide it!

About Stories of the Heart...

Stories of the Heart was released during May 1994. Traditionally, May is recognized nationally as Foster Care Month. It seemed fitting to release "Stories" at a time when we honor foster parents.

The collection was well-received. Requests for copies came from individuals and many state agencies across the country and even from Puerto Rico. Agencies have asked to use the collection as a training tool for social workers, juvenile service workers, police and judges. New Hampshire has agreed to allow the work to be copied and used by non-profit groups, so long as nothing is edited and New Hampshire Division for Children, Youth & Families is credited.

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