Rapid City family reflects on first year of foster care
Marissa and Charli Layton are celebrating one year of being a foster family. What began as a tug on the heart for children in need turned into action; they decided to take the plunge and are happy they did.
RAPID CITY, S.D. — Marissa says being a foster family had been on her heart for a while and after some subtle signs and nudges, she signed a commitment on the foster one website to know more about how to give children a supportive home.
Marissa says, “Everybody deserves to know what love is, what healthy love is, what a safe home is.” Charli goes on to say, “Have a nice comfy bed, their own room and just have, have a loving place.”
Marissa explains that an aspect of foster care is to have the foster and biological parents become a team so both the parents and children can have a successful outcome.
“That’s the whole goal of foster care and being a foster parent, being a foster family, is we are hoping these families are given a chance to become stronger to seek the help that they need to utilize the resources they are given so these kids can go back home because that’s really the best place for them if it’s safe to do so,” says Marissa.
The Stronger Families Initiative has a goal to get 300 new families involved in foster care each year over the next four years in South Dakota. As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child.
Marissa says, “It’s a huge misconception to think that these kids come from broken homes and from parents that don’t care. A lot of the parents of these kids have actually been in the system themselves and they are part of a cycle that they need the support to break it.”
Marissa talks more about making stronger families in our state and addresses commons concerns and misconceptions of foster care:
As a single parent, she had some reservations about taking the plunge, but says it takes the efforts of all family types to make a difference and that the challenges are worth the effort and outcome.
Marissa says, “We’ve learned so much as a family; its worth it because we get to see like the light come back in these kids eyes through their time with us.”
Gov. Noem said in a statement that they’re calling on the community to help.
“Even if you don’t feel that call, we still need you. Foster families need a support structure. They need their community to help them while they’re helping these kids,” Noem said. “So ask yourself, what can I give? Maybe it’s a donation. Maybe it’s lifting these families up in prayer. If you’re a business owner, maybe it’s giving discounts to foster families. However you can help, we need you.”
People interested in becoming a foster or adoptive parent can visit FosterOne.sd.gov and fill out the short online “Commit to Know More” card.