By Erin Beene
“There is a tremendous shortage of foster homes within the state of North Dakota. There is always a list for children waiting to be placed in a safe, but temporary, home” said Becky Edwards, Social Worker at Nexus-Path Family Healing.
According to the company’s website, Nexus-Path stands out from a state or zone-led foster care program in that they offer different levels of care and offer specific training for families.
Edwards explained that Nexus-Path receives referrals from Ward County Human Service zone and other zones across the state when certain foster youth require a home that they are not able to provide. This may be regular, treatment or intensive foster homes. Their website, https://www.nexusfamilyhealing.org/faq, further explains “Children often enter the foster care system at no fault of their own—when their home life has become unsafe and/or unstable, often because of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect. Children referred to Nexus come to us with a wide range of life experiences, mental and physical health needs, and varying levels of trauma and they usually require a more intense, hands-on approach to foster care.”
Nexus works with both children, the biological parents, and the foster family when deciphering a good fit for all parties involved. Edwards explained that the main goal of their program is to ultimately create the “reunification to family of origin.” She said that in order to do so successfully it takes communication, cooperating and work from an entire team. Edwards recounted that in most situations, the foster family has a solid and working relationship with the parents of the foster child, which is why Nexus-Path works extremely hard to make sure each family and child are a good fit for each other in their temporary living situation.
Edwards explained that there is not one-size-fits-all when it comes to what a foster parent or family looks like. She said a foster parent can be married, single, a grandparent or a family with biological children; she has seen all types. While the application process to become a foster parent can take anywhere from 1-4 months, and each applicant is highly screened, there are only a few hard and fast requirements. A foster parent applicant must be at least 21 years of age and be able to support themselves with their personal income. Edwards did mention that an ideal foster parent is one who is able to work well with a team of all sorts of people, is open minded, willing to be flexible, learn and experience different cultures.
When asked about how Nexus-Path works with military families, Edwards said, “We love working with military families and see them as a great asset.”
She said they have had several foster families who live on and off base. She said that being a military family does not hinder a family's chances of being a foster parent. She encourages any military family to consider helping a child in need.
Edwards mentioned that Nexus-Path is a non-profit organization that strives to help educate, train and equip foster parents and children. They offer different levels of fostering that are different commitment levels from parents including full-time, respite care and more even trauma-focused care referred to as Treatment Foster Care.
Edwards encouraged each person who has considered opening their home to a child to come talk to her. She is more than happy to discuss questions at any time by phone, email or face-to-face about what it takes to become a foster parent. She also mentioned that more and more teenagers are waiting every day to be placed and can often be the hardest to place in homes. So, if opening a heart and home to a child or teen may be a possibility please consider it. There are children all over the state that need a loving and safe- if temporary -home to grow, recover and thrive. Foster families are wanted, needed and trained at Nexus-Path. Edwards said that being a foster parent is hard, time consuming yet is also an unimaginable reward.
For questions or interest in fostering, contact Becky Edwards, at Nexus-Path Family Healing at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 551-6427.