A Passion for Caring

By Daniel Sophus

Foster care is intended to provide temporary, safe living arrangements and therapeutic services for children who can’t remain safely at home due to maltreatment, or whose parents are unable to provide adequate care.

Being a foster care parent isn’t easy. It takes time and dedication. There are many reasons to why people become foster care parents.

Arnetta Brown said her main goal is to “build self-esteem.”

Leslie Brock said her goal “is to take medically fragile children that have special needs nobody wanted to take in.”

“I wanted to give them safe and stable homes,” said Brock.

Most foster parents do it because they love children and hate to see them without homes or experiencing abuse or neglect. Children who are abused or neglected also are more likely to repeat the cycle of violence by entering into violent relationships as teens and adults or by abusing their own children.

There are 477 foster kids in the San Joaquin County according to the last poll that was taken in 2015. Of those, 57.1 percent are either abused or neglected.

Many choose to become foster parents due to a desire to raise children when they don’t have children at home.

Inside a foster home

Brown of Stockton has been a foster care parent since 2003. Her first foster family were siblings. She has a passion for foster care and considers it a mission of ministry. Her ministry deals with children that come from troubled families and her main goal is to build self-esteem.

“I want to let them know who they are and that they are somebody. They’re not guilty and they haven’t done anything wrong, and sometimes things happen in life where their parents can’t take care of them for a time period,” said Brown. “Sometimes the children are angry, upset, mad and feel like it’s all of their fault.”

Another part of her mission is to give the children the same foundation she has, which is that they’re not alone and neither is she.

“There is someone she prays to and assists her and she wants them to know that same someone is there for them,” Brown said of her foster child. She wants all her children to know that comfort.

In her home, Brown has artwork which represents Adam and our relationship with God. There was a time when we were without sin and we lived in heaven. When we had sin after Eve came Jesus told God that he would come down and redeem men. Brown is a devout Christian woman and in the bible Adam and Eve are the first humans on the earth.

“The message for children is that we’re all sinners, we all make mistakes, things happen to us but we’re not guilty because Jesus died on the cross for us,” she said.

Leslie Brock of Stockton has been a foster care parent going on 12 years. Brock and her husband have fostered more than 65 children.

“My goal was to take medically fragile children and had special needs nobody wanted to take in. I wanted to give them safe and stable homes,” said Brock on why she initially began foster caring. “The goal is always permanency for the children and every child needs to have security.”

They need to have parents, know they are secure and know that they are loved and wanted, she said.

One of her first foster children she had was a 10-month-old girl, who later passed away at 22-months.

“My perspective on special needs changed and it was worth it because I was able to give that girl a home,” she said.

Adoption was never a plan for her because she has four biological sons of her own. Brock currently has two foster boys and is in the process of getting two more boys.

Her favorite thing is: “Seeing the kids reunify with their parents, because it’s not just about the kids everyone is involved whether it’s getting the kids better or the parents better.”

Favorite places to play