We would like to share a story of Svetlana, a foster mother. Staff members of DTC’s Foster Family Project first met with her in 2013, and are currently supporting her family.
In spring 2013, Svetlana who had her own children (a 19-year-old son and a 3-year-old daughter) completed the School for Foster Parents. In June 2013, she fostered two boys Seryozha and Vanya (both born in 2006). They are not brothers, though almost since their birth they had been together in one group of a babies’ home and then in an orphanage. In a short while, the boys adapted to the new family. Their foster mother accepted them as if they were her own children: she had never seen difference between her own and foster children.
Starting from that moment, the family was taken under active assistance by Doctors to Children’s Foster Family Project. As soon as the boys went to school, their teacher began to complain about their behavior and school performance. DTC’s psychologist, project social worker and neurologist provided the family with consultations. With the developmental delais diagnosed, the boys were recommended to transfer to a special school. But their foster mother refused to change anything, because she could not bring the boys to a ne school on a regular basis. The situation was complicated by the fact that the family was living in Leningrad region, in a town remote from their school. All year of 2014, the project staff continued to provide the family with active assistance, including psychological support and consultations of different specialists, as well as humanitarian aid. The boys’ poor behavior and school performance was still an issue up to their second grade. The woman was worried by that, she totally disagree with the teacher’s opinion. With the project support, Svetlana had numerous meetings with the psychologist; her children were examined by the children’s neurologist and psychiatrist, and were recommended to attend a school with less intensive study load. Due to all these activities, the project staff were able to persuade the foster mother to change her decision.
Before the woman took her final decision, DTC staff offered her to visit the special school, meet with the teachers, and receive detailed information regarding the organization of the study process. After visiting the special school and meetings with the teacher, the woman confided she regretted having refused to bring her boys there in the previous year.
The project staff members continue to work with the family. In the nearest future, they are planning to organize consultations and sessions for the boys to adjust their emotional sphere, as well as to arrange a repeated neurologist’s consultation for them.
We hope that her wish to resolve the situation in the best interests of her children, along with her cooperation with the project staff, will help Svetlana overcome difficulties, because she has been raising her children without anyone’s assistance.
During the period from May 26 through June 30, 2015, the Foster Family project staff conducted a School for Foster Parents training cycle. This time a total of 9 trainees successfully graduated the School. We hope that these graduates are future foster parents.
Club for Foster Families
On May 16, the project staff facilitated the Club session devoted to the International Day of Families. At this event, DTC clients were joined by representatives of the St. Petersburg Women’s Union. The children and their parents were gifted a wonderful book on the Famous St. Petersburg Dynasties. They were told about famous people of the city, family values and traditions, and difficult times the St. Petersburg families faced during the Great Patriotic War. On their turn, the children prepared a performance for their children and guests: they recited poems, sang songs, and shared their achievements at school. Following the traditional tea party and photo session, each family was given DTC’s presents.
We are happy to share our latest news with you: Doctors to Children has got a new home.DTC moved to a new office located at the following address: 89A Fontanka embankment, Unit 20-N.For years, we have been dreaming of establishing a child care center which would allow provision of services to survivors of child abuse, HIV-positive women and children, as well as clients of the Foster Family project.In 2014, the St. Petersburg City Administration provided DTC with a facility for establishing the children’s center. In March 2015, the long-awaited move happened. This move would be impossible without persistence and patience of DTC staff, support and participation of partners and fellow-thinkers. DTC staff members are extending their gratitude to all who cares for the lives of children.DTC’s doors are always open for those who need support!DTC’s new address is 89A Fontanka embankment, Unit 20-N, St. Petersburg, 190031, Russia.
Club for Foster Families Meeting at Radisson
On February 25, 2015, Radisson Royal Hotel (hotel administration provided an opportunity to hold the meeting in one of its halls) hosted a Club for Foster Families meeting devoted to the Fatherland Defender’s Day. Foster Family Project staff prepared games, contests and quizzes for children and their parents. The children were competing in origami, making paper planes, which they launched in the air. During the holiday, the children and their parents were singing war songs, dancing, and trying uniform. At the end of the meeting the guests had aromatic samovar tea with sweets, and participated in a photo session.
On March 20, another session of the Club for Foster Families took part in DTC’s new office. This time the children came with a prepared concert: they were playing the violin, the chromatic accordion, showing an acrobatic performance. The parents and project staff were viewers of this wonderful concert. Such informal meetings are important both for families who have fostering experience and those who had recently fostered children. They provide the project staff with an opportunity to observe child-parent interactions, which helps in further work with the families. At the end of the event the parents and children were given DTC presents.During the period from January through March, Foster Family staff provided consultations to 65 candidates for foster parents.
A total of 44 children and 30 foster parents were provided with psychosocial and medical assistance by the project staff.
During the period from October through December 2014, DTC Foster Family Project staff provided consultations to 72 potential foster parents; 46 foster families benefited from project comprehensive psychosocial services; four children who lost parental support were placed in families trained at the School for Foster Parents.
On November 20, the project staff organized a meeting of the Club of Foster Families devoted to the International Mother’s Day. As part of the meeting, volunteers of the Amway Company engaged children and parents in a wonderful quiz session: the participants were invited to recall poems, songs, films about mothers, and fulfill creative assignments. Besides, the volunteers conducted workshops for children on creating wristlets, hairpins and postcards for their mothers. All the meeting participants received wonderful gifts from the Amway Company and Doctors to Children.
The next meting of the Club of Foster Families took place on December 21 at the Radisson Royal Hotel. That time the club meeting was turned to the New Year celebration. With the support of the hotel, DTC organized a holiday for 35 children and 28 parents who were under the project supervision. This is the second time that the hotel provided the venue for the New Year holiday. Each child was given an individual present from Father Frost. The holiday culminated in tea, sweet buffet and a large cake topped with a firework.
Anna, 26, and her foster daughter Olya, 6, participated in the above two meetings of the Club. In spring 2014, Anna completed a course of DTC’s School for Foster Parents. In June 2014, she took Olga to her family. In October 2014, the woman contacted the project staff with a request for assistance. Olya is suffering from infantile cerebral paralysis. Her condition is exacerbated by psychological issues, including fears, aggressive behavior, and hyperactivity. Anna is raising the girl on her own and is in need of support from at least one more adult (maybe a volunteer), who could substitute her (for several hours a week) and become a friend of their family. The project staff arranged a medical case conference with participation of a pediatrician and a neurologist who provided Anna with relevant recommendations. After a number of medical examinations prescribed to the girl, the project staff will initiate another case conference to monitor Olga’s health status. The family was also provided with psychological support, social worker’s consultations, as well as material assistance.
To date, due to the project support, the child is no more facing difficulties in setting contact with other children. Olya is no more bothered by fears and nightmares. The project staff members were able to find a volunteer to stay with Olya once or twice a week, thus saving more spare time for the foster mother. Olya began to attend sessions at the children’s dancing school “Get Over”. This school is attended by different children, including children with special needs. The family continued to receive the project assistance.
We are grateful to everyone supporting the Foster Family Project in St. Petersburg and helping us make children happy!
We are happy to update you on the Foster Family project activities!
A regular meeting of the Club for Foster Families took place on August 26, 2014. It was devoted to the beginning of the school year. The meeting was organized at its usual venue – one of the timeclubs in the very center of St. Petersburg.
The participants were glad to see each other after the summer holidays: the children and their parents were pleased to share new impressions and experience they gained over the summer months; the adults told about developmental improvements demonstrated by their children.
This time new participants joined the Club. We would like to say a couple of words about them.
Denis is 11. He came to the meeting together with his foster mother and his 16-year-old foster sister Elena. Denis has been recently placed in this family from a regional orphanage, though they seem to have always been together. Relationships between Denis and his new sister are in no way different from those between other siblings of their age. Being an older child in the family, Elena participates in upbringing the boy. Shealsohas experience of living in anorphanage. Therefore she assists Denis in adapting to new conditions, as four years ago she also went to a new school and found new friends. The children’s foster mother completed a DTC’s School for Foster Parents training cycle five years ago, and now continues to receive support of the Foster Family project staff.
In early November 2013, the project staff were contacted by a foster mother (Irina, 36) requesting to enroll her in the School for Foster Parents for a repeated course of training. Despite the fact that she had completed the School four years before and adopted a one-year-old boy, she decided to refresh her knowledge to take one more child to her family. Irina attended all sessions, showed active participation in the group and shared her fostering experience eagerly with other participants. In the beginning of April 2014, by a court decision Irina adopted a six-month-old girl (Mila). The foster family was joined by a new member: a daughter for the happy parents, and a sister for their four-year-old son Volodya.
Key achievements of the Foster Family Project • Conducted two School for Foster Parents training cycles, each consisting of 12 training sessions;• 16 people (13 families) trained through the School for Foster Parents;• 15 prospective foster parents (12 families) received certificates of completing the School for Foster Parents; • Conducted one meeting of the Club of Foster Families; • 20 families raising 32 foster children provided with the project support.
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