Busta’s Person of the Week: The need for foster parents is great and Shaunielle has answered the call. Will you?

Busta’s Person of the Week: The need for foster parents is great and Shaunielle has  answered the call. Will you?
March 21
09:49 2023

By Busta Brown

There are youth in the foster care system living out of cots in jail, DSS offices, and emergency rooms, due to the shortage in foster families in North Carolina. When I read data such as this, it breaks my heart. I reached out to Shaunielle Foster to get more insight and to find out what’s required to become a licensed foster parent. 

“There are literally about 15,000 children in the foster care system in Guilford County alone, and only about 5,000 homes are licensed,”  said Shaunielle. She’s a North Carolina licensed therapeutic and traditional foster parent. She’s licensed to have four children in her home and she loves them unconditionally. 

“I’ve had over 300 children in and out of my home. I don’t mind being the one to bridge the gap to get them where their next step is, which could be reuniting them with their family. That’s what the ultimate goal is when you’re in the foster care system,” shared Foster. 

You’ll rarely meet a more loving and giving spirit than Shaunielle Foster. She’s not afraid of the challenges that come with being a foster parent and putting her heart on the line, which seems to be why so many others are reluctant. “The hard reality is people don’t want to get their hearts broken. Can you imagine losing a child to the system because they are runaways, because they don’t like to follow your rules? The system is set up to keep them bouncing from institutions to group homes, to foster homes after foster homes, to where we have children living out of cots in jail, DSS offices, and emergency rooms,’’ said an emotional Shaunielle.

This coming April will mark when Foster has been a licensed foster home for eight years. The mother of two girls and two boys does an excellent job balancing her job as mom and foster mom “because I love my foster children unconditionally, as if they were mine. Yet, I do understand people who are afraid to fall in love with a child that they could eventually lose. I’m not afraid at all, because my home could be their forever home and I welcome that,” Foster said with pride and passion. 

Here are a few testimonials about Ms. Fantastic Foster: 

“Ms. Shaun is the most selfless and caring person I know. She is always putting everyone and everything first before her own needs, making her priceless. She has helped me become a better teenager.’’ 

“Ms. Foster is an amazing individual and I’m proud to call her my forever mom and mentor. She has taught me about self-love and motivated me to return to school so I can start my own business.” 

“Mamma Shaun is the funniest person I know. She always made me smile and laugh. I love that I can still call her for anything I need for me and my siblings. Hands-down the best foster home I ever been in.” 

If you’ve read my stories before, you know by now that when I share stories such as this, I cry easily. And after hearing these testimonials, my face was flooded with tears. Tears of joy.

Foster care and adoption are different. I asked if she could give us some insight on how so many celebrities are adopting children from other countries, when the need in the United States is so great. “Sometimes the paperwork is easier to just pay overseas to get a child, than to adopt a child here in the States. Our dollar is worth a lot more in other countries than it is here,” shared Shaunielle. 

I also asked what are some of the similar challenges with adopting and foster care. “A huge challenge is there being a sibling set and you not having enough space. Or a child may come from trauma, and that may not be something you’re licensed for. Because with a therapeutic license, you’re only licensed up to two; with a traditional license, you are licensed up to four,” shared Foster. She’s a North Carolina licensed therapeutic and traditional foster parent.

I spoke with a couple who had recently gotten their therapeutic foster parent’s license through the state, and a week later they were asked to house a child. “The director then quickly realized that we still had about a month left of formal training with the agency we are fostering through, and then explained to us that she has a lot of children in their residential facility. That’s a house with beds for kids who are not yet placed in a family home. She apologized and stated she was just so eager to find a place for that child and for all the children that she almost forgot that we had other training to do.” 

This couple’s story sheds awareness of how urgent the need for a license is. The wife added, “There are literally so many children in foster care that actually are not placed in homes that directors are desperate to find safe places for them to be. It’s heartbreaking really. I encourage anyone who has the time and who has the space in their home to foster a child to do so.” 

She said it took about three months to get through the classes to become licensed with the state and depending on what agency you’re going through, “it’s not hard, it just takes commitment. Remember the end goal of fostering is to get that child back in the home with their parents.”

I asked Shaunielle Foster to share some words of encouragement that may help cut the umbilical cord of fear to becoming a licensed foster parent. “You can’t look at it as a license. You have to look at it as a possible forever home and an opportunity to create unconditional love for a child that did not receive it. You now become a part of their story and their journey that they’re going to become great.” 

If you would like to invite Shaunielle Foster to come speak to your organization or get some tips on being a foster parent, she offers, “Feel free to reach out to me on Facebook and ask any questions.’’ If you’re interested in becoming a licensed foster parent, contact your local DSS office. 

Shaunielle Foster’s resilience, tenacity and passion to save and love children make her a real-life superhero. An invisible plane can’t hide this superwoman. We see you!

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