Every child needs a minimum of one caring adult to offer them support, guidance and love. Secret Harbor identifies and licenses adults who will open their heart and their home to one or more foster kids who need a nurturing, temporary home.
If you cannot care for children full-time or want to get a feel for what being a foster parent might be like, perhaps you might consider being a respite provider for foster kids. Respite care providers are licensed just like full-time foster parents but only provide care a few days a month.
You don’t have to be perfect to be a foster parent. You have to love children and be willing to learn about the trauma the youth in our care have endured. And foster parents and respite providers can be people from all walks of life:
- A single adult
- A working couple
- A retired senior
- A stay-at-home mom or dad
If you are considering foster care, Secret Harbor will be with you every step of the way. At Secret Harbor, both the child and the foster family are surrounded by a whole team of qualified and caring people who offer you positive energy and practical assistance – plus many services that most foster care agencies do not provide. For more information about the benefits of being a foster parent at Secret Harbor, please look at our page for Prospective Foster Parents and the page for Current Foster Parents.
How do kids end up in foster care?
The young people at Secret Harbor come from very troubled families right here in our communities – families that often lack natural family and community support. The families may be dealing with complex issues that include substance abuse, domestic violence, mental health issues, serious illness, abject poverty or family disruption due to divorce or incarceration. The youth have experienced serious neglect or emotional, sexual and or physical abuse, often for long periods of time.
The foster care system, although necessary, is also overwhelmed. Foster care may become a series of temporary homes over an extended period of time while a permanent solution is sought. Each time the child is moved, they have to get used to new home – a new family – a new school and a new teacher – new friends. Relocations may happen repeatedly over a short periods of time. Children who’ve been in out-of-home care for any length of time experience repeated trauma and they often feel devalued.
Who are the kids at Secret Harbor?
Washington State Department of Social and Health Services refers all of the children in Secret Harbor programs.
Secret Harbor serves a relatively small sub-section of kids in foster care, young people – both boys and girls – who are highly traumatized and need therapeutic care because of serious emotional and behavior issues. Many struggle with depression, issues with trust, anxiety, hyperactivity and fetal alcohol issues. Although Secret Harbor can serve youth of all ages, typically, the children at Secret Harbor are above age 6 and most are preteens or teens. Most of the children have been in multiple placements prior to coming to Secret Harbor, and they are in need of a structured, nurturing and developmentally stimulating environment to prepare them for return to their biological family, for adoption or guardianship.