Phyllis Stevens had a plan. She and her husband Derek were going to retire and move to Florida to live out their retirement dream. They were pushing 70 years old with children who were grown and out of the house. It was finally time for them to exhale, relax and enjoy life.
That was the plan.
Then they got a phone call. A four-month-old little boy named Hunter, who was born drug-addicted, needed a home. Someone close to the family asked that they help Hunter. Phyllis and Derek had been foster parents in the past, so they took him in.
At that moment, they knew right away that their plans had changed, but they also knew it was for the best. “It breaks a cycle,” Phyllis said. “Children come to foster care because of something traumatic. No matter what that is, you have a chance to break that cycle of suffering.”
When you foster, you’re not alone. Phyllis says, “There are people you can contact about services to help you. There are so many people out there who can guide you through it.”
For example, foster parents are eligible for specialized trainings, medical and dental care, childcare coverage, educational support, quality Pre-K, reserved after-school program slots, respite care, financial support for the child, and a network to lean on.
Even though the Stevens’ days are not filled with palm trees and piña coladas on the beach in Florida, they are being rewarded in a much better way: “He has brought such joy to our home,” Phyllis said. “We can’t imagine life any other way.”
To learn more about becoming a fostering parent, visit the Philadelphia DHS website: www.phila.gov/fosteringphilly or call 215-683-5709.