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Susan and Roberto

Family is their focus

Susan and Roberto* know all about family. They’ve raised biological children; are grandparents and great grandparents; cared for Susan’s mother in her final years; and, for the past 11 years, have been adult foster care providers.

They’re like our children, said Susan, and they consider each other siblings.

“Like most of us, many people with disabilities prefer to live with people they know and trust,” said Alex Bartolic, Disability Services Division director. “Fortunately, many individuals and couples provide that care in their homes but the demand exceeds the number of family foster homes for adults with disabilities. We need to expand this option for more people so they can live the lives they choose.”

For the couple’s 40th wedding anniversary, they gave a “beautiful speech, thanking us for teaching them how to manage in the real world,” Susan said.

Foster care takes a lot of patience, she noted. But if you care for people with special needs, she said, you need to give them the grace to make mistakes while holding them accountable. If you do that with an open heart, it will work out, she said.

“We need to support those who provide that care,” said Bartolic. “While foster parents for adults find it rewarding to provide care, we want to give them the support and respite they need to continue to be at their best.”

“They are great people,” said one of the foster adults the couple cares for in their home. “They treat us like their own children.” Added another, “They are the best people. I give them five stars.”

To learn about the steps to becoming a foster parent for children or becoming a foster care provider for adults, visit the department’s website. 

*Names changed to protect identity of foster adults.

Photograph of  Susan and    Roberto
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