At Palmetto Place we want everyone to understand our values and the purpose we serve in the community. It is sometimes difficult for children who have never experienced foster care or poverty to understand what other children are going through. We want our kids at Palmetto Place to understand that it is not their fault -- and it's important for children in the community to understand this too. We want children to understand that kids at Palmetto Place are cared for and loved. We asked parents in the community about the conversations they've had with their own kids about Palmetto Place and here's what that looks like. We hope this will serve as a starting point for a conversation at your home. Questions and Answers:
Child: Mommy what is Palmetto Place? You and Daddy were talking about it.
Mom: Palmetto Place is a children's shelter here in Columbia.
Child: What is a children's shelter?
Mom: A children's shelter is where girls and boys go to live sometimes if their parents cannot take care of them at that time.
Child: They can't go stay with their friends or family?
Mom: Some kids might not have other family members that can take care of them. It depends on what fits best for each child, some will be a better fit at a children's shelter and some kids might stay with a foster family. It depends on each different kid's situation.
Child: That would make me sad, do you think they are sad? How many kids live there? Do they get to see their parents again?
Mom: Yes it could be sad sometimes, but Palmetto Place does everything they can to make sure the kids are happy, healthy and taken care of. They have room for 30 kids to live there. Some kids get to see their parents again soon, and some do not get to see them for a long time, it just depends on when their parents can take care of them again. Palmetto Place has adults called houseparents who care about the kids and make sure they have everything they need.
Child: Well, do they get to have their own room and toys with them?
Mom: The kids get to have their own space and bed, but share a room with 2 or 3 other children, depending on how many kids are there at a time. Toys are definitely part of Palmetto Place! The kids get to have lots of books to read, toys to play with and a nice back yard to play in. The house parents make sure to help them with homework, read them bedtime stories, and even tuck them in at night.
Child: Oh so they get to do the same things I do at home! Do they eat dinner together like we do too?
Mom: Yes they do, and if some kids stay after school for sports or activities, there's still someone to eat dinner with them so nobody is alone.
Child: So you think they like to live there?
Mom: I think sometimes it would be hard for them to be away from their families, but the people at Palmetto Place care about them and love them and they like that. It's a temporary home, but the people there care about each other just like in our home.