Right now in Winnebago County there are almost 600 children without a permanent home. This month is Foster Parent Appreciation Month. We caught up with a local family who has taken in over 20 foster children.
Meet Tiajuana, Sarabi and Tiana. These three foster children are all part of the Reed family. Sarah and Oliver Reed have had over 20 foster children welcomed into their home. The Reed's started providing foster care back in 1988. Now, the two are in their retirement years but aren't slowing down, at least not with kids ranging from 16 to 2 ½ years old in their care.
The Reeds adopted Tiana and Sarabi when they were little. The Reed’s are also Tiajuana's legal guardians. The Department of Children and Family Services or DCFS says foster care isn't necessarily right for everyone. Most times foster parents don't expect to turn to adoption, but can't see saying good-bye.
The barriers for most who want to become foster parents can be as small as the size of their home and as big as a bad criminal background. When you take in a foster child everyday life changes. DCFS has requirements like locking up the medicine cabinet that most people wouldn't think to do. The Reed children say it wasn’t hard for them to adjust to a new family. They say that it’s nice to have someone who loves them so much and cares for them.
Both Tiana and Tiajuana could still share a home with some new faces. The Reed's don't plan on stopping the additions to their extended family anytime soon.