Growing Need For Spanish-Speaking Foster Parents | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

: News

Growing Need For Spanish-Speaking Foster Parents

Play associated audio

By Jonathan Wilson

The recent boom in the D.C. areas Latino population has led to a rise in the number of foster children who are native Spanish speakers.

That has created new challenges for a local foster placement agency.

Norma Rodriguez is a foster parent treasured by the staff of the Northern Virginia Family Service, one of the largest foster agencies in the area.

Rodriguez, prefers taking in teens, who are more difficult to place than younger children. She speaks Spanish. Rodriguez started taking in children seven years ago.

"I remember thinking to myself this is my last case, my first and last case because it was an adjustment process," says Rodriguez.

Rodriguez has welcomed nine other children into her home since then.

Maggie Wilkinson is the manager of the NVFS' special foster care program. She says she's always looking for more foster parents like Rodriguez.

She says placing a troubled child with a parent who can speak the language, and relate to their culture, can make a big difference.

"It really is great for us when we are able to provide a complete match for a child when they feel comfortable, and they feel like they can clearly communicate, clearly express their needs," she says.

But she can't make that kind of match for every child.

She says close to 40 percent of the children she's trying to place are native Spanish speakers, but only about 25 percent of her foster parents speak the language.

A recent study by the Casey Foundation, the largest non-profit in the country devoted to foster care, shows that the number of Latino children in foster care across the country has more than doubled since the 1980s.

NPR

The Gift Of Eternal Shelf Life: 'Tuck Everlasting' Turns 40

In Natalie Babbitt's celebrated classic, a young girl stumbles upon a secret spring and the family the spring has given eternal life to. Babbitt says she wrote the book to help kids understand death.
NPR

Food Industry Drags Its Heels On Recyclable And Compostable Packaging

A new report from two environmental groups reviewed the recyclability and compostability of packaging from 47 food companies. It found few examples of companies that have prioritized waste reduction.
NPR

Guantanamo Bay A Sticking Point Between U.S., Cuba Since 1903

Guantanamo Bay is home to the United States' oldest overseas base. Melissa Block talks to Vanderbilt History Professor Paul Kramer.
NPR

With 'Discover' Feature, Snapchat Bucks Social Trend In News

Snapchat says social media likes and shares aren't what makes a story important. The ephemeral messaging app has rolled out Discover, featuring multimedia articles from major news brands.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.