Foster family need highlighted in exhibit of ‘Courageous Love’
With Valentine’s Day approaching, love is on the tip of everybody’s tongue. But for Dr. Joanna Cemore Brigden, associate professor of childhood education and family studies at Missouri State University, February isn’t about roses and chocolate. She is trying to raise awareness of the love needed to be a foster parent.
According to Brigden, Springfield currently has 850 children in the foster care system, with only approximately 100 foster families. These foster families show courageous love to these children knowing that they will encounter a tough road, she said, as they work alongside juvenile officers, biological parents, lawyers and others interested in the well-being of the children.
“To be a foster parent, you’re reporting the children’s needs to this Family Support Team, but you’re also meeting those needs and nurturing the child and loving them as if they’re your own because they are,” said Brigden.
On the third floor of Hill Hall throughout the month of February, the childhood education and family studies department is hosting a traveling photography exhibit entitled “Courageous Love” that showcases the stories of several regional foster families.
A reception with the photographers, Matt and Heidi Giles of Freedom Photography, will be held in Hill Hall on Feb. 25 at 3 p.m.
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education also recently awarded Brigden a grant of almost $20,000 for a program to raise awareness about foster care at the Child Development Center.
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College of Education
The College of Education offers more than 60 undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs. Departments within the college include childhood education and family studies; counseling, leadership and special education; reading, foundations and technology; secondary education; and Greenwood Laboratory School. The college also sponsors many community initiatives to benefit educators and K-12 students in the region.
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