(This COBYS generated article first appeared on Lancasteronline.com on February 7, 2024)


Your neighbors in the community are struggling, to the extent that some families have been placed in the foster care system. There are so many reasons that this can happen: the opioid/drug epidemic, neglect, poverty, inequality, lingering post COVID effects, generational behavior, injustice… The list is long. The bottom line is that when families don’t have a support system Children often end up placed in foster care.

Right now, the needs of children in foster care are deep, and their trauma is severe. Trauma triggers behavior which makes caring for them more difficult. It’s easy to see how this spirals downward. When quality care isn’t provided, the cycle gets repeated.

“A misconception about families in the foster care system is that they are so different from us, but they’re not. One difference was the healthy support we are very accustomed to, they did not have this.”
– A foster mom

Who are families in the foster care system? They are you. They are me. Certainly, some demographics may have higher rates of this issue or that occurrence, but the root cause is most often a lack of access to support. Families entering the foster care system is a community-wide issue affecting all neighborhoods.

What can be done? Families need to care for these children. Ordinary families and individuals are needed to do the extraordinary, to answer the call to provide foster care; to care for kids, some for a short time, some for always. While the goal in foster care is almost always reunification with the biological family, sometimes adoption is the best option.

“The things that helped us were reminding each other reunification is the goal. Foster parents need to treat bio parents how they would want to be treated if they were in that situation. Our emotions contradicted themselves when reunification was decided. We were heartbroken as we packed up all their things and yet we were rejoicing because a family was reuniting.”  
– A foster parent

The best chance for healing and hope comes in the form of prepared foster families. COBYS Family Services prepares foster families, and then walks with them on the journey to provide loving support for these kids.

The COBYS training and licensing program is more involved than most, going beyond basic requirements to give foster families the tools to address issues they almost certainly will face. Tools like Trust Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) training, an evidence-based program designed to prepare caregivers for parenting children with trauma.

All COBYS employees who work with foster children and families are trained in TBRI. They know and understand how to support foster children and foster families. This approach to training and empathetic commitment adds up to the COBYS Difference, giving all parties the best chance for foster care to work as it should.

“The answer to what hopes we have for the future of our family and children is tricky and has changed quite a bit over the years. I think you go into foster care with this determination to make a difference, to have an impact on a child in need and dramatically alter the trajectory of their life for the better.

So, if you asked this question when we started our journey, you would hear us say, we hope for them to embrace their potential and be contributing members of society. Now . . .  I think we have revised our answer to – we hope that we have given them a firm foundation upon which to build their life. We hope they feel loved. We hope that we have given them the skills to make good decisions, and when they make bad ones that they can give themselves grace.”
– Adoptive parents


The need is real. But the opportunity to address the need will only be met when enough families answer their calling to provide safety, love, care and hope to some kids from hard places.

“We have appreciated COBYS walking alongside our family for all these years. I have had COBYS caseworkers cry with me, laugh with me and be brutally honest with me (even when I did not want to hear it). We have had some amazing caseworkers, some of which are true friends.  Although we have now closed our home, we will continue to pray that future families will step up and meet the need. We hope to remain a part of the COBYS family in one way or another.”
– Adoptive mom


To learn more about foster care and foster to adopt care visit www.cobys.org/fostering.

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