By Emma Castleberry
A less-visible impact of the pandemic is an increasing number of children entering foster care across the US, including in Buncombe County. One local organization working to recruit, license and support foster parents to meet the growing demand is Family Preservation Community Services (FPCS). A nonprofit child placing agency located in downtown Asheville, FPCS works in several WNC counties to place children in therapeutic and family level foster homes. “Our agency implements a trauma-informed approach in helping youth and their families during times of behavioral and/or emotional difficulties,” says Chelsea Korynta, licensing coordinator and foster parent recruiter for FPCS. “FPCS is fortunate to employ licensed clinicians who have experience assisting survivors of past trauma.”
Therapeutic foster care service was developed by a pilot project in the 1980s and this service is now fully implemented across North Carolina. In this system, foster parents devote their lives to several generations of children and families and often stay connected even after the child leaves the foster system at 18 years old. “We have foster parents who are experts at helping kids transition into adulthood,” says Korynta. “That is so crucial right now, especially when kids are transitioning into a COVID-19 version of adulthood that presents so many uncertainties.”
Permanency and consistency are central to the philosophy at FPCS because they’re universally important for development. “Our foster parents understand that—and we have seen amazing outcomes because of it,” says Korynta. FPCS foster parents Bill and Madalyn have been fostering for more than 40 years. “FPCS is there for the foster parents so they can be there for the kids,” says Madalyn. “I want an organization I can count on that will help out, and FPCS does that over time with every foster parent they work with.”
The FPCS logo, depicting a pair of adult Emperor Penguins with a baby between them, was an intentional design choice. Emperor Penguins live in some of the harshest climate conditions on Earth, yet manage to thrive because of community. “They support one another,” says Korynta. “Every penguin gets a turn in ‘the middle’ of the huddle, while other penguins provide shelter from the sometimes -76 degree windchill. Those who can withstand the cold protect the vulnerable penguins who cannot. We bring this model of support with us in our approach to working with foster parents and the children in their care, realizing that at times, we all need our turn in the middle.”
FPCS foster parent Marty captures the spirit of the logo in these words: “No one person can do everything, but we all are obligated to do something,” he says. “This is my something.”
Learn more at fpcscorp.com. If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about foster care, contact Chelsea at 828.289.2952 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.