There are more than 850 children in Hamilton County who are currently placed in out-of-home care, according to Jami Clarke, program director of Lighthouse Youth Services' foster care division
. That means there is an ever-growing need for foster parents within our community.
To raise awareness about the need for foster parents, and to celebrate National Foster Care Month and the local successes LYS has seen during the past year, the nonprofit will host its second-annual Be The Somebody March
“On a daily basis, we’re getting calls for sibling sets of two and three children at a time who are being displaced from their homes and who are in need of temporary care for six months to four years,” Clarke says. “And we’re trying to match them so it’s possible within their same school district—within the same community—so they can continue to have visitation with their family members, and we can work toward reunification.”
Clarke says the separation of siblings is often even more traumatic for children than being separated from their parents, so it’s especially important that the organization find foster parents who are willing to take on the responsibility of not just one child, but two, three and sometimes four or five children at a time.
Tasha Boyd, 33, is a North College Hill resident, who is one of those more-than-willing foster parents. She has been with LYS since 2007, and has been a foster parent for about eight years.
Boyd, who initially thought about running a daycare because she says dealing with kids is her "specialty," started to look into foster care instead. She says she understands that there are many children in our community “who need love.”
“A lot of homes are broken, and there are a lot of homes out there that can help,” Boyd says. “We need foster parents out here. It’s a hard thing to do, but at the same time, you’re rewarded every day—it’s a blessing.”
Boyd, who has a soon-to-be 14-year-old son of her own, says she loves what she does and that her son has “no problem sharing his mother” with the 10 children she has brought into their home over the past five years.
She currently has a sibling set of two girls in her home, and for the first time in her life, Boyd will transition from foster care to adoption. The mother of the two girls has decided to release her rights because she can no longer care for them due to mental health issues.
“The two have been in the house since they were nine months old and three days old," Boyd says. "I’m all they know. I was not going to turn my back on them.”
• Sign up for the Be The Somebody March
and picnic lunch.
more about becoming a foster parent.
• If foster parenting is not for you, but you would like to help, consider becoming a mentor. Contact
Jami Clarke for more information.
By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati and a teacher at the Regional Institute of Torah and Secular Studies. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia.