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Fostering 100 Children Over 16 Years? Tom Gaunt Shares His Story.

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Adult & Child Health Board of Directors Chair Tom Gaunt knows as well as anyone the positive effect fostering can have on a child’s life.

He’s been a foster parent to over 100 children over a 16-year period.

That includes a sibling group of nine that Tom and his wife, Jeanne, adopted together as a way to keep the children together.

Tom appeared Jan. 25 on WISH-TV (Channel 8)’s Indy Style show, which features lifestyle and local topics, to talk about his experience as a foster parent, the need for more parents and Adult & Child Health’s role.

Here’s an excerpt of what he shared:

Adult & Child Health Board Chair Tom Gaunt with his wife Jeanne and nine of the siblings they adopted through fostering.

How did you become associated with A&C?

“I was a foster parent, and my foster children and adoptive children were being seen by Adult & Child long before I became a board member.

“Foster care was such a priority for Adult & Child that they asked me to become a board member to make sure the program had a voice at the board level.”

What made you decide to do this?

“My wife’s father was a foster child, and so after we married, we decided to be foster parents in honor of her father.

“It’s about helping kids. We’re no better than the children we bring up into this world. There’s over 400,000 children waiting to have foster parents, including 9,000 here in Indiana. Foster parents are unsung heroes.”

What’s a bad reason to become a foster parent?

“If you’re looking to fulfill something in your life, it’s probably the wrong motivation. The loss of a child, and you’re looking at maybe taking foster children to replace that loss … maybe it’ll make your marriage better if it’s not doing so well … those would be the wrong reasons.

“The right reason to become a foster parent is to help make a change in someone else’s life. We need good parents to extend what they know to make a difference in another child’s life.”

Watch the WISH-TV interview below.

Why is A&C an ideal foster care agency?

“At the time we had nine foster children, all siblings, on the path to adoption, and as such, my frame of reference for today comes from the help my family received, and what made A&C’s Foster Care program special for us, and all the other foster families A&C serves.

“The value of our agency to our foster parents: A strong focus on community – meeting with other foster parents that understand and emphasize, ‘it takes one to know one.’”

What does our program offer?

Adult & Child Health’s Therapeutic Foster Care program provides parents with all the assistance they’ll need. From eligibility requirements to licensing to placement and more, we’re here for you. Here are few other benefits:

  • Ongoing trainings and seminars
  • Holiday & summer activities
  • Ongoing licensure and clinical supports
  • Paid Respite Days (paid days off during which another parent oversees your children)
  • Through coordinated care and supports – “one-stop services”
  • Integrated behavioral and physical health services
  • 24/7 Access to emergency behavioral health services
  • Pharmacy

Do you want to learn more about becoming a foster parent? Email us or call 1-317-893-0207.

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