As director of foster care services, Guenevere Kalal has built Damar Foster Care Services from the ground up. Since 2010, she has been charged with creating, building and operating the program – including managing the foster care staff. Guene holds a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from Purdue University and a master’s degree from Indiana Wesleyan University.
You Can Be a Foster Parent
Imagine that one day, 20 children came to your door and asked for a place to live. And you had to tell them, “No.”
And then, the next day, 20 more came to your door. And the day after, 20 more. And so on, every day.
I think that you, like me, would find that to be a pretty hard existence. Unfortunately, that’s sort of a snapshot of what I have to do, as every day my staff and I have to turn away about 20 kids who need foster homes.
Twenty kids … each with a name, a pair of bright eyes, a favorite toy or book, and a crisis. Turned away because we don’t have enough foster parents.
This isn’t just a Damar Foster Care Services problem; this is an Indiana problem … or, rather, an Indiana crisis. With 23,000 kids in the foster-care system – up from 13,000 just five years ago, in part due to the opioid epidemic – Indiana desperately needs foster parents.
The good news? You or someone you know can join the more than 30 Indiana families already working with Damar Foster Care Services to provide safe environments to children until crises are resolved and, we hope, they reunite with their families.
While you might know Damar Services as one of the state’s leading providers of services to children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, you might not know that Damar Foster Care Services provides services for all children in need of foster services, regardless of abilities or disabilities. And you can be a part of those services.
Before you think, “But I don’t know how to be a foster parent,” let me reassure you: We’ll give you all the support you need to become a successful foster parent. We’ll walk you through the application process, come to you to provide one-on-one training, and give you access to professional case managers 24 hours a day, every day.
What kind of person do we need? Here’s what we know about foster parents: Most are big-hearted, strong-willed people with a passion for helping kids. They provide homes where hugs and rules coexist in harmony. And many of them feel a spiritual or even religious “calling” to be foster parents.
My guess is that those qualities resonate with some of you, or they remind you of someone you know. If so, let us know.
No one reading this is going to help all 20 kids I’ll have to turn away today. But maybe you, or that someone you know, can help one of those kids with a name, a pair of bright eyes, a favorite toy and a crisis replace that crisis with a home – and the promise of a better day.