If you’ve been a part of the foster care world for any amount of time you’ve heard the exhaustively crazy list of “what if” stories, you’ve been cautiously warned about the “wild kiddos”, and you’ve definitely seen the looks from well-meaning community members who don’t quite understand what, how, or why your family is doing what they’re doing. If you’ve joined the CHOICES family, you’ve also seen a need and stepped up to fill it which is something we will never be able to adequately express our appreciation for. Whether it’s been 6 months or 16 years, we are forever indebted to you and your families for the commitment you’ve made to support our youth.
This year’s Foster Parent Rookie of the Year award is being presented to a family who heard all the stories, wasn’t fazed by the “wild kiddos”, who built an additional bedroom and bought a 12 passenger van and who said “We’re here and we’re ready, just tell us how we can help”. They have help collected donations at Christmas and try to convince all the parents in the community they wanted in on this awesome opportunity to start fostering. They have invited some of our emancipated foster youth to family holidays, they set up family hangouts for siblings who are unable to be placed together or simply provide a listening ear to other new foster parents as they learn the ropes, Kaylee and Andrew Price are always eager to meet the needs of foster youth.
It has been an absolute privilege to see the Price family fulfil the mission of CHOICES by bringing change to youth and families by providing personalized services and building safe environments. If you’ve had the opportunity to chat with any of the kiddos in their home you’ve heard the Price family described as supportive, fun, caring, loving and even “the parents I always wanted”.
When the Price family was licensed, they identified their preferred age range as teens and shared they’d be comfortable to take one youth, possibly another. Although their first placement was incredibly short term, their next few were not. The Prices went from a family of 4 to a family of 9 in a little over a year – saying yes without hesitation not knowing for sure who may stay long term and who might have the opportunity to go back home. With each of their placements the Price family has gone above and beyond to build intentional relationships with birth families and support the case plans as they change. The Prices have gone out of their way to not only maintain current familial relationships but also have built relationships with family that some of their youth have never had before. Earlier this year a couple of kiddos were placed in their home who desired a relationship with their brothers (who they haven’t been connected with for SEVERAL years); the Price family connected with them, set up & facilitated, and provided transportation for the children to spend time together and then they even invited the younger brother to stay the night. As youth have transitioned back to family or into other placements, the Price family has maintained contact and those relationships offering support and encouragement. As their family continues to grow, it seems like their hearts do too.
The Price family ensures that youth are able to explore new hobbies and interests, or continue to participate in the activities the kids have loved prior to joining their family. From football to cheer, to trampoline and gymnastics, to horseback riding and youth advocacy court – their schedule is filled with moments for their kiddos to create new lifelong memories. From family trips to the beaches in Florida and cozy cabin weekends, there’s never a dull moment in their world.
Although their time as foster parents has been short so far, it feels like they’ve been part of the CHOICES fam for a lifetime. Kaylee and Andrew, thank you for all you have done not only for the kiddos in your home but the kiddos in our agency and your community. We cannot thank you enough for your passion, dedication and advocacy.