Did you know that May is National Foster Care Awareness Month? To help raise awareness of this community that we love so dearly, things are looking a little different this month on the podcast. Every week this month, we are highlighting stories from each perspective of the foster care community—agency workers, foster parents, vulnerable adults, and children—because every member of the foster care community matters and has a story to tell.
Today, I’m talking with Delaney Burns, who is an agency worker. Delaney grew up in a home where her parents fostered, which solidified her interest in becoming a foster care caseworker. In this episode, she shares openly about the hardest parts of her job, what a day in her life looks like, what she’s been learning through navigating hard situations, and the hope she holds on to through it all.
TAKEAWAYS FROM TODAY’S CONVERSATION:
1. Trauma makes things messy, but not hopeless.
No matter if you are a birth parent, foster parent, foster child, or caseworker, trauma and the circumstances that often lead to foster care make things messy. But even in the messy and hard things, there is hope! We can trust that God is working in the midst of messy situations.
“Even though it is hard, and even though it takes a lot of sacrifice, it’s worth it to me. The people are worth it to me.”
2. Seek to understand what the biological parents are going through.
The large majority of biological parents desperately want their kids back. But many times the foster care system can be frustrating and there are lots of rules for them to try and follow. The events that led them to this situation are very heavy, and often involve their own traumatic experiences. Biological parents truly do need our understanding and our support.
“My heart is not just for the children, but also for the birth parents.”
3. Enter foster care with the right intention.
A lot of people start fostering because they have a desire to adopt. However, Delaney reminded us that the primary goal of foster care is actually reunification. While that isn’t always the outcome, we should enter into foster care ready to root for the birth parents. In 2019, only 26% of children that exited foster care were due to adoption.
“Don’t get into foster care if you only want to adopt because that’s not the goal. That might have to end up happening in the end, but foster care is hopefully temporary.”
Meet Our Guest
Delaney Burns is a foster care caseworker. Her first personal experience in the foster care community was when her parents made the decision to foster when she was just 15 years old. During that time, her family got well acquainted with behavioral outbursts, police visits, and psychiatric hospitalizations. But through all the hard things, she saw the beauty and the need for more people to step into hard things. This led Delaney to get her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work, and she has now been a foster care caseworker for over a year.
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