Around 2 p.m., foster mom Lisa Moore ushered five children from inside her home to the front yard to play. In the adjacent parking lot a black truck had just rolled to a stop. In the truck bed was a basketball goal.
In the next hour and a half, the children would discard their hula hoops, foam balls and roller blades to shoot hoops on the new goal — but they didn’t know it yet.
Three of the five were foster children in the Eagle Ridge Institute’s therapeutic foster care system, which had connected them with J.J. Gourley, a new deacon at Westminster Presbyterian Church. Gourley, with the help of the other deacons, donated the basketball goal to the children, one of whom aspires to be in the NBA.
First they played with soft foam footballs, tossing them back and forth to each other. It was about 100 degrees, but it didn’t seem to faze the children, who, dressed in vibrant clothing, looked like blurs of energy bouncing around in the yard.
It was a different story for the adults, most of whom sat on the concrete steps leading up to Moore’s porch.
“They’re going to sleep well tonight,” said Lauren DeBose, Eagle Ridge Institute therapist.
Children in the therapeutic foster care system require a higher level of care than regular foster children, said Amy Corrick, Eagle Ridge Institute’s director of therapeutic foster care. As Corrick stood in the shade beneath a tree in the front yard, she explained that many of the children in the program have dealt with situations like abuse and neglect, mental health issues or medication issues.
Because these children have special needs, prospective foster parents must be trained to foster the children, Corrick said.
“These families are awesome,” she said. “They have to go through the wringer to be qualified.”
A chronic problem with the foster care system is that there are too many children and not enough families to take them. That problem is intensified whenever the children have special needs, like the ones in Eagle Ridge’s therapeutic foster care.
How to help
Foster parent information
If you’re interested in becoming a therapeutic foster parent, call Eagle Ridge Institute at 840-1359 or email acorrick@