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February 6, 2014

Fostering for Airmen

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Airman 1st Class B. Chevalier
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Fostering_pict
Tech. Sgt. Christopher Poole, 355th Fighter Wing non-commissioned officer in charge of readiness and programs, stands with his wife, four children and two foster kids after dressing up for Halloween in Tucson, Ariz., Oct. 31, 2013. The foster children can’t have their faces published in photos for legal reasons, so the family finds creative ways to involve them in everyday photo events.

People are always in need of help, whether you see the homeless on the corner or a stranger asking for help. Sometimes we get so caught up in our daily lives we only help those people who come to us with their problems. Two Airmen from the 355th Fighter Wing staff have reached out to help those who haven’t asked.

Technical Sgt. Christopher Poole, 355th FW non-commissioned officer in charge of readiness and programs, and Master Sgt. Mark Molineaux, 355th FW Inspector General wing inspections plan manager, provide foster care for the children in Pima County.

Foster Care is a program where children, from infants to 17-year-olds, who have been removed from their home for legal reasons, are placed in a temporary home with a family who has been approved and licensed by the state. A child can be placed in foster care for a day, a week or even longer depending on the child’s situation.

Poole and his wife received their foster care license in December 2012, while Molineaux and his wife received theirs in October 2013. Both families wanted to reach out for different reasons.

“My wife and I were looking at expanding our family,” Molineaux said. “We decided that instead of having more of our own children, there are plenty of kids in the world that need a loving environment to live or grow up in.”

Both families have children, so parenting was nothing new to them. They explained what was going to happen to their children before bringing new kids into the household. The program even gives foster parents the opportunity to choose an age range of kids they would prefer and if they would like a sibling group.

The program tries to pick the best match for the foster child and the foster parents. They will have meetings and over-night stays to see if the child will be a good fit in that home, but sometimes events arises where a child needs an emergency placement.

Poole said his family waited three months to find a match, before they took in an emergency placement of siblings. The children stayed with them for about four months.

To become a foster parent, the families must be screened to see if they meet a list of requirements, including background checks, a safe living environment and parenting classes. Poole and his wife completed the process in approximately two months.

The Airmen explained foster parenting may even lead to adoption in some situations. Poole said the cost of adoption is usually lower through the program as compared to a standard adoption.

Poole and Molineaux recommend fostering children, if the situation is right.

“If anybody feels comfortable in their current situation, I think they should look into the possibility,” Poole said. “Go to an orientation and see if it’s right for you.”




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