"It feels great. It feels like the job I am supposed to do."
Auburn resident Paulette Francis has been a foster parent for 10 years.
Through the experience she has adopted her son, 15-year-old Moses, and currently holds the title Foster Parent of the Year for 2013.
"I was in the military for a long time. I didn't have any kids of my own and so after getting out of the military I had home, just me and a dog so I got into foster care and it's very rewarding," says Francis.
Francis is a part of Alabama Mentor, a program that specializes in Therapeutic Foster Care, TFC, designed to serve children who require a higher level of care and clinical support than traditional foster care models.
TFC serves children of all ages and backgrounds who have often experienced abuse, neglect, family separation or multiple foster care placements.
"We at Alabama Mentor have over 300 children that are in foster care right now and we are just one of many programs, so there are more children then that are in care," explains Gina Allen, Alabama Mentor Recruiter.
Alabama Mentor offers free foster parent training classes throughout the year.
Potential parents must attend ten of these sessions to become a licensed foster parent.
"We talk about why children come into care because a lot of people do not know why that is. We also talk about different parenting styles, discipline styles," says Allen.
Francis is now fostering and raising one child along with Moses.
She knows this was a calling and encourages people to think about becoming a mentor to a child in need.
"I've been here 17 years and this is my home, so I want to be involved in the community and the way to be involved is to foster parent," explains Francis.
If you would like to become a foster parent, visit Alabama Mentor's website, www.al-mentor.com.