**0:00:00** - (Lynne Jasames): Welcome to a movement of kindness and empathy. You're listening to compassionate Las Vegas. The podcast embarking on a mission to unite our city under the banner of compassion. We're one among 440 cities around the globe standing together to build a more compassionate world. Now introducing the man leading the charge, your host, Will Rucker.
**0:00:21** - (Will Rucker): Welcome to compassionate Las Vegas. I'm your host, Will Rucker, and thank you for joining us for this episode of season five of the podcast. Joining us today is a very special guest who is passionate, who is well informed, and who has a life story that is sure to inspire you. So welcome our very special guest, Lynn Justames. Hello.
**0:00:48** - (Lynne Jasames): Hi, Will. I just can tell you thank you. Thank you for this opportunity. I love to be able to share.
**0:00:55** - (Will Rucker): Yeah, well, I'm so glad that we were able to connect. I actually heard you speaking at the Shepherd's Breakfast, and I was just so moved by what you shared and the energy that you used when sharing. So for those that may not know, the Shepherd's Breakfast is a monthly event for pastors and community leaders to come together, hear about what's happening, and really just stay connected and informed. And so there's an opportunity for folks to share what they're doing.
**0:01:23** - (Will Rucker): And you work with our foster system. So if we could just start with helping us understand kind of your role, what you do, and then I've got a few questions for you.
**0:01:33** - (Lynne Jasames): Okay, well, my name is Linda James. I've been with the Department of Family Services for over 25 years. Currently, I am a foster parent trainer and recruiter. And what we do, we recruit foster parents and we train foster parents, and we go out and we talk about the need right now that's in our community for foster children and definitely the need for African American children. I talk about the amount of children that's on Child Haven campus.
**0:01:58** - (Lynne Jasames): And as great as the staff is, and as hard as the staff work, they just can't completely, totally meet the needs of that of many children at one time in congregate care. So we don't want children in congregate care. And then I have the other side of the story. As I aged out of foster care myself right here in Clark County, I have personal professional experience, the full spectrum.
**0:02:27** - (Will Rucker): There, which I think is so important, and it shows that that lived experience can be turned into a life of purpose and passion.
**0:02:35** - (Lynne Jasames): Yeah, it does.
**0:02:37** - (Will Rucker): So I always like to set a baseline for the podcast with how you view compassion. So I know how I define it, but I want to hear from you how you define compassion.
**0:02:48** - (Lynne Jasames): Well, when I think of compassion, I think of people who one is okay with putting others before themselves at their appropriate time, though. So we want to take care of ourselves. But I really think about people who, when you showing compassion, you're thinking of others outside of yourself. You're willing to go above and beyond to help someone that's in need and willing to make sacrifices sometime for other people.
**0:03:14** - (Lynne Jasames): Use your time, even sometimes finances, just time, financial benefits, those things. And I think a compassionate wrapped in like a package when you're considering providing services and resources and support to other people.
**0:03:32** - (Will Rucker): Yeah, I agree with all of that. And it's so important for us to understand we're all connected. So really what we do for others, we are in fact doing for ourselves. Because if we can help somebody, then we all do better.
**0:03:47** - (Lynne Jasames): Absolutely. Exactly.
**0:03:49** - (Will Rucker): So I want to get into your story. We're going to kind of just follow the natural timeline of your life. I definitely want to make sure we hear what's happening at Child Haven in that. But let's start with you. So you said that you actually ended up aging out of the foster system. Tell us your story.
**0:04:05** - (Lynne Jasames): So I entered foster care at twelve years I'm sorry, 14 years old. I entered 14 years old with a baby, and at the time my mother was heavy on drugs at the time. So me and my younger sister entered care, and my other sister had to go stay with an auntie of mine at the time because we couldn't be at home. We wasn't found safe while we were in the home with my mom. Basically her protective capacities was diminished, so before they could get them enhanced, we had to be removed and placed into foster care.
**0:04:36** - (Will Rucker): You were 14 and you already had a child of your own.
**0:04:41** - (Lynne Jasames): Yeah. It's funny, when I circle back to this, it's like starting to realize I was kind of abandoned. I gave birth and then went to the hospital. My mom never even showed up to the hospital. And then they removed me from the hospital, me and my baby. So it was like entering foster care and being abandoned at the same time.
**0:05:01** - (Will Rucker): Wow. So as a 14 year old, how did you process that?
**0:05:07** - (Lynne Jasames): This is what I like to say. So when I was 14, I was kind of like very mature in my opinion, at my age, in a sense of used to taking care of yourself, used to learning how to survive without the guidance of a parent. Right. So I will say I was immature, very irresponsible, because I was a child. But at the same time, I carried myself like I knew what I was doing. I carry myself like I could handle it because in essence, I had to. Right. I had a mom who was absent a lot, who was using drugs a lot, and so me and my sisters really had to fend and take care of ourselves.
**0:05:42** - (Lynne Jasames): So I was already babysitting my friends kids. So I remember when I did find out I was pregnant, I remember my mind saying, oh, the baby just won't go home. You would just have to keep it all the time because I was already helping my friends with their little kids and their babies. So it just felt like, oh, well, the baby just won't go home. That's how I processed it.
**0:06:06** - (Will Rucker): Please keep continue the story.
**0:06:08** - (Lynne Jasames): Okay. Yeah. So I was kind of running from the system. So the system came in. They removed my younger sister from school because I was kind of getting up, sending her to school, me and my oldest sister, getting her ready because my mom wasn't home. My mom would be gone for days at a time. So I was carrying guilt a lot of times because I felt like it was my fault when they actually got my sister because we were sending her to school.
**0:06:32** - (Lynne Jasames): She wouldn't have been at school if we wouldn't send it her. So I carried a lot of guilt through my time at foster care for my youngest sister, but just went to the hospital. Then I couldn't run anymore. End up had to leave my baby, end up going into Child Haven. I spent like eleven days at Child Haven before my baby came to Child Haven. And then they finally found the home. Five foster homes my social worker shared with me, five foster homes, wouldn't take me and a baby. And then one single African American woman did. Her name was Bertha Robeson. She took me and my baby in her home, and that became our forever home until I aged out, which means she took the second baby in, which she means she took the third baby when I was there at her home.
**0:07:19** - (Will Rucker): There's so much to that. Number one, her compassion.
**0:07:23** - (Lynne Jasames): I was just going to say that.
**0:07:27** - (Will Rucker): I understand one child and maybe a child with a child like, okay, we're okay. But then you grew an entire family, and she still stood by you and essentially supported you in your journey.
**0:07:41** - (Lynne Jasames): Absolutely, and she did. I like to say that she made a commitment to that 14 year old little girl with that baby, and in essence, she kept it outside of having the babies. That's pretty much if you want to say things that I kind of did that you wouldn't want a child to do. That was the only thing I wasn't disrespectful. I did write in school. She wasn't running down to the school behind me and things like that. It was with the exception of coming up pregnant, I think that's the only thing. If she want to unravel, we would have unraveled that part of it, but the rest of the part, we were good together.
**0:08:16** - (Lynne Jasames): She learned a lot about how I felt. I like to share after I aged out years later, we talked about some things that we never talked about when I lived in her home. It came out years later, but she didn't know she was saving a young mother and three babies. She didn't set out to do that, but in essence, that's what she did, because, one, we all believe we would be different people if we were separated, and she never separated us.
**0:08:43** - (Lynne Jasames): So it's so many pluses to her making that one decision to that 14 year old little girl. I mean, my son, who could say his mom is 14 years old, grew up to be very financially successful, got into real estate at a very young age, right out of high school almost. He went to college for two years, got injured, couldn't play sports, came home. But I like to share, like, she contributed to my oldest son growing up to be successful, my second son growing up to be the young man that he turned out to be, my third son growing up to be the young man he turned out to be. Because all three of us was, in essence, in foster care.
**0:09:19** - (Lynne Jasames): They all graduated on time with their senior class. They never saw the juvenile justice system. And those was the ODS, my personal platform. I talk about beating the ODS and how all the ODS was against us, and we overcame them all. Everything that they said about a 14 year old teen mom, everything they said about a foster child, I defied them all the ODS that was against me. And them being young black men growing up in a foster care system, we lived in a project for a short period of time.
**0:09:50** - (Lynne Jasames): We defied all those ODS.
**0:09:53** - (Will Rucker): Yeah. So for someone listening that says, okay, this incredible human made this commitment, and it truly paid off in your case, right? You now have a lineage that's successful. You are now reinvesting into our community by helping other families be connected. I want to know first, how do you refer to your foster parent? How do your kids refer to her? And what's the relationship like? Is it still ongoing?
**0:10:24** - (Will Rucker): Help me to understand. Peace.
**0:10:27** - (Lynne Jasames): It's so funny. So my foster mom is deceased, okay? Probably been over 15 years now, if not longer. So she's deceased, but she was my forever mom. So I have my foster mom and I have my biological mom, but she became my forever mom. So even after I aged out, I could still go to her house, still went to the same churches she went to, still spent holidays with her. I do like to share. So when she was in her passing period, she was at Respite and I was working at a hotel because my son had went away to college, so I was working at a hotel.
**0:11:02** - (Lynne Jasames): He came home during that time that she was in hospice. So we would all go up to the hospital when I got off work at 12:00, because hospice let you come 24 hours around the clock. So me and the boys would get in the car. They would pick me up from work. We would go to hospice, and everything she would do body moving while trying to signal we attributed to she was communicating with us. But before she passed, I was able to share with her that she spent a lot of time putting her time and energy into her son and her daughter because just some unfortunate things that happened in her son and daughter's life. Right.
**0:11:38** - (Will Rucker): She had kids of her, biological kids of her own then?
**0:11:41** - (Lynne Jasames): Yes, I had a foster brother and a foster sister. Well, some things happened in their lives and their lives didn't turn out kind of like what she wanted. So for a woman who was very spiritual, for a woman who prayed a lot, gave a lot of time to the church and stuff and to the Lord, I think for her, she grew kind of like I think it was just very upsetting and hard for her to know that she was willing to sacrifice for foster children.
**0:12:06** - (Lynne Jasames): And then what she envisioned for her children, she didn't see come to pass. So before she passed, we was in a hospital one day and I would say, she looks so angry. She just looks like she was just mad. Right. But she couldn't communicate at that time. So when she was in there, I was sharing with her like, big Mama, you were saving a young woman and three little boys, but I don't think you knew that or understood what you were doing, because I saw the relief on her face. I get it emotional.
**0:12:36** - (Lynne Jasames): I saw a lot of what I felt like the anger just come off of her because I explained to her, I said, I know that spiritual wise, it's hard for you to be praying and asking for God for something, but then you don't see it to pass. Right. So I was explaining to her that you were trying to save your own children from things, but you saved a young woman and three little boys lives who we know our lives would be different and if for that alone, the world is grateful because we're good people. Right.
**0:13:06** - (Lynne Jasames): So it's like you did a huge thing, but that wasn't your intention. So, again, even when you decide to take a child who's suffered from a great deal of trauma, a teen mom who just needs some structure, who just needs someone to show them different than where they come from, you never know where that can lead for them in their lives. You just don't know. Making that one decision to say, I'll help a foster child, she didn't know, my son could say, my mom was 14 years old and we were in foster care, but yet instill.
**0:13:41** - (Lynne Jasames): I grew up to be the young man that I grew up to be. That speaks volume.
**0:13:47** - (Will Rucker): Wow. We're going to take a quick break and when we come back, I want to hear from you about how folks that are listening to your story and want to make a difference, how they can get involved, what's required, what the need is all of that good stuff. All right, good. Well, we'll be right back with more from Lynn Just Same. Did I say that right? Yes, you did. Okay, perfect. We'll be back with more.
**0:14:13** - (Lynne Jasames): All right. And that's the golden rule. Camp Anytown has taught me that knowledge is power, and if I utilize my voice, I can make a difference in the world, no matter how big or small.
**0:14:27** - (Will Rucker): I learned that as long as we stand together, we can accomplish so much more. What Camp Anytown has taught me is that I am not crazy to think I can change the world. I'm crazy if I think I can do it alone.
**0:14:39** - (Lynne Jasames): Camp Anytown has taught me that just because I'm different does not mean I don't belong.
**0:14:43** - (Will Rucker): I learned at Camp Anytown to be more compassionate because you never know what somebody else is going through.
**0:14:51** - (Lynne Jasames): Camp Anytown is a no cost youth leadership camp that trains high school students in diversity, community and inclusivity. When you choose the Golden Rule license plate, you play a part in a local camp that helps shape a better tomorrow. Learn [email protected].
**0:15:12** - (Will Rucker): This is compassionate. Las Vegas, the podcast. I'm Will Rucker. And we're here with Lyn. Just Same. More from her incredible story. I mean, I should have brought my tissue because this is just so impactful and touching. But I'm inspired. I'm motivated to take action based on what you share. So for those that are listening that say, what's this experience? Like, how do I get involved? I mean, what was your experience when you first met your foster mom?
**0:15:42** - (Will Rucker): And then walk us through that process of how someone becomes a foster parent.
**0:15:48** - (Lynne Jasames): Okay, so for me, I was 14 years old, just had a baby, but I didn't know anything about the foster care system. Even when they came and took me from the hospital, I didn't understand what was going on. And children don't make decisions, so we don't have choices, because if I had my way out of stay at home with my mom, with the rent not paid for three months, not worrying about how I'm going to eat every day, that's the choice that I would have made as a child, right?
**0:16:11** - (Lynne Jasames): Because that's how we think we want our parents no matter what. So when I got ready to go to my foster mom's house, I was having a lot of anxiety. Didn't know what to expect. Just was like, oh, this lady was willing to take me and my son. Okay. But I was having a lot of anxiety because I'm like, well, I'm going to call her mom. What does she expect from me? What does she want from me? And more importantly, why?
**0:16:32** - (Lynne Jasames): Because if I have people that I trust that I would expect to show up for me, but if I end up in Child Haven and no one shows up, then all the trust in those adults, it goes away because no one is showing up for me, right. And so I was having a lot of anxiety, really kind of scared, had a lot of thoughts in my head. And when I get there, me and my foster mom pull up Connor in her driveway. Not my foster mom, my caseworker. We pull up in her driveway and she come walking down the driveway. So I'm in the car somehow thinking, if I push my body back in the seat, that mean I won't have to get out, right?
**0:17:05** - (Lynne Jasames): And she walk up and she peeks in the car and she say, hey, I'm Big Mama. But she was about this big. It made me laugh. And it just took all the anxiety away, like, in a matter of seconds, just how she introduced herself. And I understood that it was okay to call her Big Mama. She was telling me what to call her at the same time, which took a lot of anxiety away because we don't know what to expect. We take what's, like a journey from being here to here, and we end up here.
**0:17:37** - (Lynne Jasames): We have no choice, we have no control of our situation, and now we're going somewhere, but we don't know what to expect. And so she really took a lot of anxiety away. And from then on, we was good.
**0:17:49** - (Will Rucker): Because the kids don't know what to expect. And as a new foster parent, you've gone through the classes, and we'll share more about that in a moment, but you really don't know until you experience it.
**0:18:03** - (Lynne Jasames): It's like taking a stranger don't take candy from a stranger, like Joshua would say. They say, don't talk to strangers, but just go live with them.
**0:18:13** - (Will Rucker): Right? Yeah. And that's got to be difficult for even I mean, you were 14, so you had some life experience, but if you're five or ten, that could be even more difficult. So we've talked about Child Haven, but not everybody knows what that is. Could you share a little bit about that? How many kids are there right now and what the need is?
**0:18:35** - (Lynne Jasames): So on Child Haven campus, it gets up to 100 children. The minute we see it start coming down to the 80s, it goes right back up to almost 100. It stays closer to 100. More than anything, the age range for children on campus is newborn to 18 years old. On Child Haven campus, and we have different cottages. So there's the infant in the medical fragile cottage, which typically is between children with special needs, but newborn to probably six years old.
**0:19:06** - (Lynne Jasames): And then once they turn six, between six and like twelve, they go to what we call the elementary girls, or the elementary boys. And then once they turn 13 and older, they go to the teen girls and the teen boys, and that's how they split up for age range, and then they separated sex. Sometimes we have to intermingle the elementary boys and girls. It just depends on the need and how the population falls on each side.
**0:19:30** - (Lynne Jasames): At any given moment, there's up to 100 children on Child Haven campus.
**0:19:34** - (Will Rucker): So up to 100 kids, and are they still going to separate schools? Help us understand that process as well.
**0:19:43** - (Lynne Jasames): That's an important question to ask about our children, because we have what's called staying in their school of origin. So imagine being separated from your family, losing all your connections. The one thing the courts and the family services want is for our children to stay connected to some of the things that could stay the same and familiar. So school of origin means that a lot of times children stay in their school when they're removed.
**0:20:08** - (Lynne Jasames): Even if they go to Child Haven, if they go into a foster home, we want them to still be able to go to their same school so they could keep their same friends, their same teachers. A lot of them have relationships with staff at the school that they're out, and then those staff know those kids a lot of times personally. So we try to keep them in the same school. So we'll bus them, we'll use Hopskip, Drive, whatever we need to do to get our children transported, even from Child Haven, to their school of origin so they don't lose those connections.
**0:20:35** - (Will Rucker): And that's so important because I can only imagine I was really fortunate to have a very strong family unit, and so I don't know what it's like to even fathom being separated. So I love to hear that they at least get to stay with their school and have folks that are familiar with them around.
**0:20:57** - (Lynne Jasames): Yeah, we try. And the course has really done an amazing job, because, again, with my own personal experience, things were a lot different. So from my own personal experience to where I've seen the agency grown, I'm grateful for the progress, because things were a lot different when I was in the system, even up until I aged out. The resources, the services, the programs, the opportunities that is afforded to our children is amazing compared to when I aged out. So I've seen the agency make a lot of progress.
**0:21:29** - (Lynne Jasames): It was in the best interest of our children.
**0:21:31** - (Will Rucker): So even with 100 kids there, I mean, that's a lot. First of all, just to say 100 kids in one place, that's just a lot. But that also speaks to the need. And we're a Vegas valley. We're not a couple dozen families here now. We've got over a million in population, so we should be able to find 100 families participate. So what's the process? What support do you provide potential foster parents? How do they get engaged?
**0:22:03** - (Lynne Jasames): The first mindset I want to incorporate before we get to talking about this is because I think our communities have lost it Takes a village to Raise a child. And when we adapt that mindset only because these days, it's kind of hard to even say anything to people children, right? Trying to help and support in fear of the backlash if the parents don't agree or don't like the way you helped. And I say that to say that I grew up in a time where the neighbor could say, hey, Lynn, you know better to be doing know. The neighbor could correct me. Well, honestly, the neighbor could beat my butt if I step too far out of line.
**0:22:40** - (Lynne Jasames): It was inappropriate, and we won't say that could happen today. But the mindset of a village, being able to raise the children, I think a lot of times, if we can't say anything to children because the backlash, then it's hard to help children. Does that make sense? So I want to feed into that mindset and change that in a sense that, yeah, it's hard. It's not the same as helping families with their children, but in the mindset of how you want to help and what help looks like. So we talk about it takes a village to raise a child.
**0:23:11** - (Lynne Jasames): We don't even want our children to have to enter care. If we could sit back and we see a family that's in need. There's too many churches in our community, right? There's too many resources and programs that's available. And sometimes family don't know because we're so transient. We are a city that's not rooted in heritage because we're so diverse, right? Because of the diversity. There's not a lot of connection. There's not a lot of longevity with people knowing each other. And Aunt Susie, we know what's going on in her neighborhood.
**0:23:42** - (Lynne Jasames): It's definitely not Southern style. Right? So with that in mind, we talk about the village, think in terms of all our children is part of a village. And we need people to step up and say, hey, our children need us. And I have to attest to the amount of children that's on Child Haven campus that's African American. We need our children to be with people that look like us, that we're familiar with, that's used to the things we used to know, and familiar with how we do things because other people's normal is not our normal.
**0:24:15** - (Lynne Jasames): It looks different for everybody's. And so the need for African American children, african American families, is high. It's very disproportionate within our agency, and we're trying to improve that. And there's a lot of things and a lot of barriers, and I think it's a lot of mindset that people have without giving themselves a chance. So instead of our community stepping up, if I got arrested ten years ago, I didn't counsel myself out, or if I don't make enough money or I don't have this perfect lifestyle, like, we promote LGBTQ families coming into fostering with us. We have LGBTQ marketing material because we want people to love our children.
**0:24:54** - (Lynne Jasames): Loving a child does not come with a criteria. Do that make sense? It doesn't come where you have to be black or white and you don't have to be married or single. Those are the things we want to erase some of those myths that people believe, like even people like, well, I got a warrant, but we're not arresting people because you had to get fingerprinted to come foster our children. I like to encourage to give us a chance to see if you meet the criteria or not instead of xing yourself out.
**0:25:22** - (Lynne Jasames): And it's very huge. So you start the process by first and foremost taking the info session. Our website is Wwfosacare.com, so it's www.clarkcountyfosacare.com is our website where all the information is. But you first you go to an info session. We are fingerprinting at the info sessions now and they are free now. So you don't even have to pay for fingerprinting anymore. We're able to fingerprint right there on site now.
**0:25:54** - (Lynne Jasames): When you come to get fingerprinted, after you get fingerprinted, you can sign up to start taking classes now. Sometimes it could be like a four to six week wait before your fingerprints come back. Most people opt to go ahead and get in classes because they don't worry about their background. The ones that do what would be.
**0:26:10** - (Will Rucker): In someone's background, just so they know. Because I know you're like, don't ex yourself out, but help me x some folks out here who should not.
**0:26:19** - (Lynne Jasames): We don't want people with crimes against children in the background. If you have a CPS history, it is and I use the word assess because it doesn't always necessarily counsel you out. If you have a CPS history, it just depends on the nature of the CPS history. Yeah. So, yeah, we don't want people with crimes, violent crimes especially, depending on how long ago they were, may be something that could be considered a discrepancy that could counsel you out. But most people concerns don't be things like that.
**0:26:50** - (Lynne Jasames): Even stuff that we can say, we can work with that. Or some people have done things in college and they grown in their thirty s and forty s now. And we'd be like, definitely not. We all did things in college that we want to undo those things and so that's what we mean.
**0:27:06** - (Will Rucker): So a speeding ticket is not a problem.
**0:27:08** - (Lynne Jasames): In other words, absolutely speeding. Other things that I don't want to just say it and then people be like, oh, I don't know. But at the same time we like to say, give us a chance before you cancel yourself out. Because the mindset is, well, I'm doing this to help a family, right? Because we talk about our foster children, but it's about the family. Because at the end of the day we forget even the parents who cause the children to go into care is something going on with them?
**0:27:35** - (Lynne Jasames): And we don't ever want to forget that, right? We don't want to forget how important they are in our children's lives because they still matter. I. Worked the intake for over 20 years for abuse and neglect. And trust me, the amount of children that are rather being a home with no food and water and lights and gas, they'd rather be in there than at child haven because they with their family. They'd rather be in an abandoned car that's greasy and hot and dirty. They'd rather be on the bridge, under the bridge.
**0:28:02** - (Lynne Jasames): Children have been found in some places that they wouldn't even ask for help, and they wouldn't even think to ask for help because if that's where their family are, that's where they want to be. So the family dynamics in and of itself is still important to our children. We never lose sight of that, and the goal is to help them.
**0:28:18** - (Will Rucker): I think that raises such a key point, which is what really matters to kids is their family. The loving that they receive. That connection is really matters. So you don't have to live in a mansion and know the best of everything in order to provide a quality of life for someone.
**0:28:38** - (Lynne Jasames): And that's another thing. People have this ideal of what a foster home looked like. Hey, my foster mom lived in a house right there in North Las Vegas off Rico Street. It was a three bedroom house. I had other foster sisters in my baby, and we was happy in that house. We sure was. Absolutely. And we just want to just kind of move away from any of the myths, especially the things you heard. Our culture is changing within our foster care system to support our foster family more. So we have what's called foster parent champions, but we also just incorporated what's called wraps, where we're just wrapping resources and services and supports around foster families.
**0:29:16** - (Lynne Jasames): So for those who kind of felt like, oh, well, Department of Family Services don't show a lot of support, they're not really helpful, we've changed that culture. They've even increased the stipend every month. And people are not fostering. Don't get me wrong for financial gain or benefit. I won't say everybody don't. But for the most part, it's a compassionate people heart that say, hey, we want to help some children.
**0:29:38** - (Lynne Jasames): We hear a lot of our families say we can afford to. We're able. We feel blessed with our home and our lifestyle, and we're financially stable. They come and want to help our kids all the time, and so we just want to move away from those things that would discredit us as an agency, give us a chance for where we are right now. Right. All the things that you heard five years ago, ten years ago, or Aunt Lucy experienced, or the neighbor down the street experienced with the foster care system, our culture is changing, and we definitely want to be able to share that. And providing our foster families with more resources and supports, that's what we're doing. We're starting with fingerprinting is free. We're starting with if we can get in there and help you get the physical exams and get you safety kits in your home.
**0:30:24** - (Lynne Jasames): We're working on all that to support our foster families. We started up what we call a support group within the department where we do ongoing trainings every month just to help them feel confident and give them more skills to help work with our children to understand the trauma. Because people forget trauma affects children's behaviors and so sometimes the behaviors can be a lot. But when you can understand where the behaviors come from and understand how to work with them, then you're more likely to hang in there with our children, with our children and give them a chance.
**0:30:57** - (Will Rucker): How long is your typical placement for?
**0:31:00** - (Lynne Jasames): We don't like to answer that because we have situations where it looked like, oh, this child will be going on over the weekend. And then they could be in the system for six months. Or we could be like, oh, this child probably be here for a while based on history and circumstance. And then they'll leave out quicker. So it's really no definite answer to how long, and on average it's really not. It's on really a case by case basis.
**0:31:22** - (Will Rucker): And so if you have a family that may be able to commit to, let's just say six months, but then after that time they want to be involved, maybe they're moving or something like that happens. Is there a way for them to still be a foster parent but not have to stay with the child for however long?
**0:31:45** - (Lynne Jasames): Great question. The only reason why is because if a family takes one of our children and let's say they're moving out of state, well, we're going to have to remove our child with them. If we can't send the children out of state with them, we're going to have to place them in another placement. But they could stay connected to the child through that forever family mindset. We want our children to have people in their lives for long term.
**0:32:07** - (Lynne Jasames): We don't want you to feel like you get to come into their life, but because you no longer foster them, then you're out of their life. We don't operate like that. You become as long as you want to remain in their life and it's possible we're okay with that. We're definitely okay.
**0:32:21** - (Will Rucker): And I'm so glad to hear that and I'm learning as we go because I'm not familiar with the system and all of that, but that was something I was always wondered because admittedly, I get attached. I'll go to read at a big.
**0:32:34** - (Lynne Jasames): Fear of a foster parent because we talk about reunification a lot. We talk about our goal is to reunify our children with their parents. That's what we want for them. We know sometimes so attest to people say, oh, well, I want to adopt, I want to foster to adopt. So foster care is not about fostering to adopt. And this is how I like to explain it. So people say, oh, well, I'm here because I want to adopt. And we say, okay, one, if you do want to adopt, you still have to go through the fostering process because we got to make sure we match you right first.
**0:33:04** - (Lynne Jasames): But this is the ideal of it. So we don't do what's called foster to adopt. Foster and adoption speak two different languages. Foster, we speak reunification, we speak shared parenting, we speak working with the birth families. We speak with giving you tools and techniques, but also how to support them. Adoption is straight talking about you taking care of the child forever. So you see, there are two different languages. So I like to say that it's a fact.
**0:33:27** - (Lynne Jasames): Foster families do adopt our children all the time. So foster parents do become adoptive parents all the time. That's a fact. But that's not the goal of foster care. The goal of foster care is for our children to be placed in the home temporarily because at that time they're not seen as safe. While the agency worked to make the family safe, enhance the parents protective capacities so we could put those children back in the home.
**0:33:54** - (Lynne Jasames): So that's the difference.
**0:33:56** - (Will Rucker): Yeah, that's a big point. And I think for a lot of folks that's a comforting thought because again, I get attached. So knowing that going in makes a difference and just having that mindset shift of the goal really is to reunify. And I think that's important for our communities and to make our communities whole is like we want to restore people. We don't want to just I think that's powerful in our last minutes together.
**0:34:29** - (Will Rucker): What is your message to those that will hear this or be watching? What is your message to them?
**0:34:35** - (Lynne Jasames): Well, we're talking about having compassion. I'm glad that this opportunity talks about compassion because we want people to have compassion for us. No matter what we're doing in our life, no matter what's going on with our life, we would love for people to show us compassion, doing our lows, doing our highs, whatever going on in our life, it's showing compassion. And to be willing to take a child into your home, it's being open up your heart, open up your time, sometimes your resources for our children.
**0:35:05** - (Lynne Jasames): But our children need homes. They need safe homes. They need a place to be where they could feel safe. We need them to heal, grow and thrive. But we need our community to come on board. We know that within the African American community, there's a lot of resistance. We're not here to pretend like it's not. But I'm also asking that if you can lower your resistance towards it because our children need you. But I also talk about if you don't want to foster, there are so many other have I'm going to give you some examples. We have what's called court appointed special advocates, which are called Casa workers. Casa workers become like big brothers, big sisters to our children.
**0:35:46** - (Lynne Jasames): There is a special program. You go through training, but you can become a Casa. You can partner with us. Your business can partner with us to help one spread the word about foster care, show up and help us provide other resources and services to our children into our foster homes through donations, putting on events for our kids. There's just so many other ways that you could offer support because we understand everybody don't want to foster, but just to reach out, get involved, share what you would like to do, even if it's not fostering what you can do, how you can.
**0:36:19** - (Lynne Jasames): And let us build the relationship so we can work together to help our foster families and our foster children.
**0:36:27** - (Will Rucker): That's what I just heard you say is that there is a place for anyone that wants to help to is.
**0:36:34** - (Lynne Jasames): Absolutely, it is a place.
**0:36:37** - (Will Rucker): Lynn, first of all, thank you for your story and for your transparency. This was so enlightening for me personally. I know our audience is going to just be they're going to be calling you and telling you, hey, we're ready to get engaged because we are passionate people. And I think you've shared the impact that someone can have by giving even their foster kids some grace because it would have been so easy for your foster mom to say, oh, you made a mistake, I don't want to do this anymore. But instead, she stuck with you. And now look at what you like to share.
**0:37:09** - (Lynne Jasames): Thank you for bringing that up, because I do like to share. You say, oh, there's a seven year old foster girl, and then you know some of the things you hear. We know the stereotypes, we know the hearsay, we know the things that said about foster children. We could look at statistics about foster children, right? We could look at statistics about foster mom. And I'm saying what I'm saying to say. Like, I was a 14 year old little girl that entered the foster care system with a baby. So that alone made people like, oh, no, I'm not taking her. Oh, no. And her life is doomed and she's not going to make it, and there's no way she's going to be successful. And I show up to my foster mom's house with no credits in the 9th grade, so then it's like she's going to be a high school dropout. Like all the statistics that come along with being a teen mom and a foster child.
**0:37:53** - (Lynne Jasames): And I like to share. Like, if my foster mom would have got stuck on that, then here it is. I'm Lynn Jasames. I've authored three books. One of my books, the Les Brown, one of the top motivational speakers in the world, he wrote the four to one of my books. I did platinum speaking with him for over two years, right? I have my own fragrance lines, which I've never had a launch party because I sell it out my trunk so fast, right?
**0:38:18** - (Lynne Jasames): I have a nonprofit called Supporting Underprivileged Americans. We did our first backpack drive with the Kevin Hart when he got the keys to the city over at Do Little, right? Been working with the Department of Family Services for over 25 years. I'm part of an Eagles organization, which I'm the regional director for. Las Vegas, nevada Eagles organization is a nonprofit organization who primarily work with foster kids and youth youth in College mentoring program.
**0:38:45** - (Lynne Jasames): They just took the kids on a fishing trip. A lot of foster kids we work with just In Time, which is a major foster care agency that support children who've aged out of foster care. So, again, I'm not bragging. I'm trying to impress upon people what a foster child can grow up to be if given an opportunity. Do that make sense? I've worked with some amazing people. I mean, who would ever thought that I would be in the room with Beyonce dad? Well, I got pictures with him, so it's not fake. I got the receipts, as they call it. Right. And I don't really talk about those things in the front, but I wouldn't have thought that at 14 years old that I would be in the presence of people like Armando, the guy who had the home show, being the presence of someone like Les Brown, being the presence of someone like Kimberly Elise. And again, I got my receipts, and I can go on and on.
**0:39:34** - (Lynne Jasames): Being able to do an event with Kevin Hart, I didn't see that for myself either. But I feel like my foster mom did. My high school counselor who helped me take the classes, who helped me stay going through school, put me in the mail classes, morning classes, afternoon classes. They were seeing things in me that I probably didn't see in myself. And I would like the community to see our foster children like that. Like, give us a chance.
**0:39:59** - (Lynne Jasames): That's all sometime we need is a chance and a real commitment, because has she not made a genuine commitment to me? She may not have hung in there the way she did with me, and she had a lot of compassion.
**0:40:13** - (Will Rucker): Well, I think we can leave it there. This has been compassionate. Las Vegas. The podcast. I'm will rucker. And as I always remind you, you are not just a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop. And what you do matter, matters. So live compassionately. I'll see you next time.