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360 children in need of foster homes in the Big Bend

NWF Health Network offering free training courses for foster parents
Posted at 6:23 PM, May 11, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-11 18:43:02-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — "It's hard, but what these kids are walking through is much harder," said Chelsea Watson, who has been a foster parent for the last two years.

During that time, Watson has fostered 8 children. She said she always knew she wanted to foster after helping her mother in her church's nursery as a little girl.

She added that fostering has helped her grow in more ways than one but shared what the hardest part of fostering can be.

"Saying goodbye to one of my kiddos that I've had for two years. I watched her grow up. She was very small, with no teeth when she came to live with me. She blossomed into a really amazing, wonderful, kiddo," said Watson.

Children enter foster care for a variety of reasons including sexual abuse, witnessing domestic violence, not being properly fed, or supervised, and physical abuse.

The role of a foster parent involves providing care, helping kids work through their issues, and enrolling and maintaining schooling.

Foster family support specialist, Calyn Stringer, was previously a foster parent herself and went on to adopt. Now, she works to help others become licensed foster parents.

"Anyone who becomes a foster family has a foster support specialist that walks with them on the journey and are available 24/7 for emergencies," said Calyn Stringer, Foster Family Support Specialist for NWF Health Network.

The NWF Health Network is offering free courses for foster and adoption training.

"It's hard but its worth it, the kids are worth it, and we're going to support you along the way," said Stringer.