Four foster parents licensed by St. Aemilian-Lakeside were chosen for the 2013 Governor’s Foster Care Award. The award honors their positive influence on the children in their care, their advocacy for children in out-of-home care and consistently going above and beyond what is expected. The awards, which were bestowed in a ceremony in Madison on May 29, are part of a celebration of Foster Care Month. The foster parents and excerpts from their nominations are below.
Kristy and Andrew Langfeldt — The Langfeldts have the ability to set aside any emotions or heartbreak that fostering can bring and put the best interests of the child in their home above their own. Shortly after being licensed, Kristy and Andrew took placement of a 2-year-old boy with a severe history of trauma and some resulting seriously challenging behaviors. Recognizing the importance of establishing a good working relationship with the child’s birth family, they wrote a letter to the boy’s birth parents to tell them a bit about themselves and reached out to them to help them feel reassured about the care that their son was receiving. This simple gesture initiated an excellent level of trust between the Langfeldts and the boy’s parents, and the permanency plan for reunification is moving ahead.
Judith and James DeVries — Judith and James have been foster parents since 1993 and have provided a safe and loving home for more than 45 children since that time. Besides their excellent work with children, the couple have taken an active role in recruiting, training and supporting other foster parents. Judith is a foster parent instructor for the pre-service classes through the Milwaukee Child Welfare Partnership for Professional Development, where she shares her insights and wisdom with new foster parents. Both Judith and James are Foster Parent Ambassadors through St. Aemilian-Lakeside, where they help recruit new foster parents, and they are regular participants in foster care.