One Hope United staff members Corinne Fish, Kristen Kinnear, and supervisor Brionne Rhodes are part of the Madison County Permanency Action Team, a group focusing on foster parent retention. Recently, the Team spearheaded a collaboration with Be Strong Families and the Department of Children and Family Services to provide a Foster Parent Café in the community.

The Café was designed to provide foster parents peer support and help them realize they are not alone in caring for their foster children. Many foster children have experienced difficult situations and their needs can be difficult to meet at times. The Café offered a place for Foster parents to come together and share their struggles and discuss resolutions.

One Hope United System of Care staff worked to bring in donations from community members to provide refreshments and child care during this event. The manager of the Alton, IL, Applebee’s – Sue Sprinot – donated food for the children during the Café. One Hope United System of Care staff also worked with DCFS staff to provide care for children ages 18 months to 14 years old. This allowed a safe place for foster parents to bring the children and enjoy the evening of support.

During the Café, One Hope United was able to offer craft activities for the children, games, and other activities to keep their little bodies busy while their caregivers were able to sit back and enjoy themselves. The event proved to be a success as participants indicated interest in attending future events like this.

One Hope United looks forward to continued collaboration with other community agencies to provide support to the foster parents who so ably serve our children. One Hope United System of Care worker Kristen Kinnear, and all staff, continue to spread the word in this collaboration and to remember this: “On your worst day on the job, you are still some child’s best hope.”