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Should Foster Parenting Be a Paid, Salaried Position?

Proponents say the model helps foster parents gain the support and training they need.

By Casey Leins Staff Writer April 4, 2019, at 9:56 a.m. US News and World Report.

DENISE WHITE AND HER husband fostered their first child in Milwaukee 13 years ago. Two years later, White was selected to participate in the county's Professional Foster Parent Program, in which foster parenting is considered a full-time, salaried position.

White, 62, is now fostering her 11th child (she has had one child per year) through the program, which was established in 2007 to provide care and support to girls ages 13 to 17 who have experienced physical or sexual abuse, domestic violence and/or unhealthy interpersonal relationships with family members.

In order to become a professional foster parent, White participated in a certification training, and she continues to learn new skills through classes and seminars.

"I don't feel like I chose (this program); I think it chose me," White says, describing how she wanted to give back to the community after her four biological children were grown. She also has 17 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. White says she's always loved working with children, including those in her ministry.

"For me, I just wanted to help. I wasn't trying to take over someone's child or something like that," White says. "I wanted to see these children get back home to their parents, so that's why I got into the program."

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