Dozens of foster families received free school supplies during a foster care picnic last week at the Tumwater Historical Park.
The DCYF event featured food, an activity set up by the Hands On Children’s Museum of Olympia and free school supplies donated by various community partners.
Joyce Erickson, a Fostering Together liaison from Thurston County, was at the event ready to hand out supplies.
“It builds a sense of community,” said Erickson, who has fostered seven children and adopted four. “It allows kids to be around other kids like them.”
Mi-na Davis, a social service specialist at the Tumwater office, says the back to school event is well-attended.
“It’s a good place to mingle with other foster parents,” said Davis. “It’s exciting to see families grow and for children to find their forever home.”
Davis worked closely with Shannon Rock who also attended the event. The Rock family has fostered seven kids over the last two years.
“Often times it started off as a short term placement but you fall in love with them,” said Rock. “There’s lots of kids who just need a place to land,” she added. “It’s really rewarding.”
Rock, her husband and four children they’ve since adopted mingled with DCYF staff, foster parents and community partners, picking up school supplies along the way.
“Free school supplies are very helpful for families with lots of kids,” said Rock. Jennifer Dunlap, a social service specialist with adoptions, says this is just one of a few events the Tumwater office puts together for foster parents and caregivers.
“This is about foster parent retention and a great way to show mutual appreciation for each other,” she said. “It’s a way to show our foster parents that we care.”