As we are well over a year into the pandemic, many feel a sense for the need to make a change. During the last 16 months, millions of people worked remotely, assisted children with online learning, took care of young ones, experienced illness personally or with a loved one, remained isolated from family, while others suffered job loss, furloughs, or reduced hours. The pandemic has forced individuals to reflect on their experiences, which is causing people to reevaluate the meaning of their jobs. Whether you are someone still working or are looking to re-enter the workforce, now may be the perfect time to make a big life change and become a Foster Parent at SOS Illinois.
If you’ve been searching for a path to set out on as you begin reimagining what your “new normal” may be and are looking for the career that will leave you feeling rewarded, full of hope, and deeply fulfilled, becoming a Foster Parent for siblings in Illinois foster care may be that calling you’re meant to answer. Here we address concerns of safety, support, and impact that potential Foster Parent candidates may be considering as to whether or not now is the right time to take the next big step in their journey to transforming lives.
Addressing Safety Concerns at SOS Illinois
For many, starting out at a new place of employment may raise concerns surrounding health and wellness. Rest assured that SOS Illinois is committed to the safety of the children and families in its care, as well as every staff member at the organization. Throughout the pandemic, we have taken precautionary measures to ensure the wellbeing of all.
Following lockdown from early on in the pandemic, additional cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment were distributed, as well as social distancing and face mask protocols were put in place, which were all established to help us navigate our next steps. The extra measures provided a standardized response to ensure all homes were protected as staff members and birth parents resumed in-home visits.
Additionally, once vaccines were more readily available, SOS Illinois embarked on an education campaign, A Dose of Hope, to share resources and personal staff testimonials about the COVID-19 vaccine as a means for better understanding how we as a Village can continue healing together.
During Phase 5 of Illinois’ reopening the state, safety continues to be our top priority. While staff return to the offices, interviews, onboarding, and training are being held in hybrid forms both via phone, zoom, and in-person. We recently began offering abbreviated messaging, zoom meetings related to teen vaccination, concierge services to book vaccine appointments, a wellness ambassador program, and vaccine buddies to help.
Safety measures remain in effect, such as all staff and children in public locations are required to wear a mask, (changes and updates will be made based on CDC guidelines). Additionally, as research continues, information regarding children and vaccines, as well as the return to the classroom continues to be shared with staff.
When You Become a Foster Parent with SOS Illinois, You Aren’t Alone
One of the most incredible things about the work we do at SOS Illinois is that we have created incredible communities where both Foster Parents and the youth in our care can access the support and help they need, whenever they need it.
Jeannette Rush was a Foster Parent and continued to serve as a mentor to new Foster Parents. When it comes to our supportive family, Jeannette shared,
“With SOS Illinois, we’re a Village, and it takes a Village. I know back in my day it took a Village to raise children, and you could always depend on your neighbors. What I’ve found with SOS Illinois is that a lot of parents are dedicated to that and say ‘Let’s help each other.’ So you can always turn to someone for help when you need advice about this or that or whatever might be the issue at the time. There’s always someone that has the skills or expertise to help.”
In addition to peer support from other Foster Parents, each Village is staffed with case management teams, clinical therapists, an education and activities coordinator, and a full administrative team for Foster Parents to access. With these resources always on hand, Foster Parents at SOS Illinois can feel confident that they have the tools and support they need in order to provide loving care to the children in their homes.
What Does it Mean to be a Full-Time Foster Parent with SOS Illinois?
SOS Illinois Foster Parents don’t clock in and clock out and return home at the end of the day. They make a very real change to their lives when joining our team in this role. As we like to say: being a Foster Parent at SOS Illinois is not just a career—it’s a vocation!
Our Foster Parents move into one of our three Chicagoland Villages and take care of up to six brothers and sisters in a single-family home in one of those Villages. SOS Illinois Foster Parents attend to the daily schedules and diverse needs of each of the children in their home, nearly 24/7 (our part-time, on-call Relief Parents provide weekly relief time, and Foster Parents also have access to paid vacation time, like all full-time employees at SOS Illinois).
As a full-time, professional SOS Children’s Villages Illinois Foster Parent, your role is so much more than just a job. Our Foster Parents are deeply invested in the healing, development, and growth of the brothers and sisters in their care on a daily and ongoing basis. Specifically, our Foster Parents work alongside case managers, court systems, and biological parents to ensure that a child’s permanency plan towards a forever home is followed.
How to Trust the Calling to Transform Your Life and the Life of A Child
As you continue to consider your next big step in life, remind yourself that just because this is a trying time doesn’t mean it’s not the right time to move forward with bigger life decisions. At the onset of the pandemic, due to the unprecendented nature of it and the unexpected turns it brought, individuals found it hard to plan for and move toward the future.
However, for all the stress inherent in a pandemic, you still have the ability to make smart decisions once you’ve examined how the change will affect your life. For a number of individuals, becoming a Foster Parent was on their radar before the pandemic, and for others it is now front and center due to reflection and soul searching.
As you consider the right timing of transforming your life, while transforming the life of a child, ask yourself if you are moving toward something and not away from it.
With that in mind, now might just be the perfect time to go for it. Learn more about becoming a Foster Parent at SOS Illinois today.