Caring for Teenage Girls in Foster Care

Becky is a dedicated foster parent in Whiteside County who has worked with LSSI since 2005. In that time, she’s fostered at least 20 children, and at one point she had five children living with her and her biological daughter at the same time.

“I was a single parent of one child, and she always wanted a companion, so I decided to become a foster parent,” said Becky. “I felt I was blessed with what I had—my daughter, a college education, a good job—and I just wanted to help others and give back to my community.”

Becky accepts placements for teens, a huge need among children in foster care, and has cared for a number of teenage girls at a vulnerable point in their development, many of whom try to harm themselves. But the outcome for most of the children in her care has been positive.

“I cared for a girl who turned 18 and graduated from high school,” Becky said. “She was able to work and save money, get a car, driver’s license, insurance—all on her own. And I think the best part of being a foster parent is that my kids always come back, not to live with me but to visit.”

Becky was caring for a teenage girl who had a baby boy. The girl ran away, so Becky became a foster parent for the boy. When he turned five, he was reunited with his biological father, who lives down the street from Becky. He and Becky have a close relationship.

Last year, LSSI served 2,729 children through foster care placements. During the pandemic, LSSI has seen unprecedented challenges in its ability to care for and interact with clients, including children in foster care, while following safety guidelines. The need remains high for children to be placed in foster care, and available placements for children age 8 and older have been lagging behind demand.

“We definitely need more foster parents in this area, because these days there are more calls for children needing homes than before,” said Becky. “I’ve gotten calls from different areas, like Chicago, and my last placement came from Rockford.”

Becky appreciates all the support she has received over the years from her LSSI caseworkers. “They come running if you need them,” she said. “My licensing representative from Rockford helped me get a bunch of stuff that the child needed, like a physical check-up and paperwork for school. No matter what, they are always there to help out.”