DEAR READER: Children who are in DFCS custody will have access to funds from DFCS or donations from local businesses and individuals. Typically, the child can submit a Wish List to their case manager. This is a list of toys and clothing that the child would like to have. Local businesses and organizations will donate the items on the list and the foster parents are able to give these gifts to the child.
If you have a child that is not in DFCS custody, you will be expected to use a portion of your reimbursement to buy gifts. However, their biological parents and family will also be expected to provide gifts. TREK staff will work with other local organizations and individuals to provide additional donations for the family if necessary.
DEAR SHILLOY: If I have a foster child in my home at Christmas time, will I be able to include them in our family activities and celebration?
DEAR READER: Yes, TREK staff would encourage you to include them in all of your family events. We always want the children in our program to feel like they are part of your family. However, since some of the children in the TREK program have a family member or guardian, we also allow for them to spend part of the holiday season with their biological family or guardian. The TREK case managers along with DFCS case managers and parents work together ahead of time to schedule and coordinate visitations.
Ideally, we would strive to coordinate time for the child to spend with the foster parent, and the biological parents and family.
DEAR SHILLOY: I have family members who have criminal backgrounds. How does this affect my application status?
DEAR READER: It does not affect your status at all. However, individuals with a criminal background should not be spending any unsupervised time with a foster child. Specific instructions will be available from your case manger.
Shilloy Bates is a TREK program case manager for Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade and Walker counties.
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