Sue Christenson, who has been honored as Fairfax County’s Foster Parent of the Year for 2022, says her commitment to help very young children in some ways is born out of slightly selfish motives.
“It just makes my heart sing when I think about these little guys. I get so much out of it – I really do,” she said after being honored by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG).
Christenson is a retired psychiatric nurse who first became a foster parent with Fairfax County in 2008.
“Her medical knowledge and selfless dedication have been invaluable in caring for medically fragile infants,” COG officials said.
“Sue has supported children as they transition to permanency through reunification, placement with relatives and adoption, and is incredible with bridging the gap with birth parents, relatives and adoptive parents,” they added.
Since 2003, COG has been partnering with local and state child-welfare agencies around the region to recognize exceptional foster parents on an annual basis. Child-welfare workers strive to keep families together, but when that it not possible, foster families can provide the necessary support.
“Foster parents are essential in our communities’ continuum of care, ensuring that the youth in our region are safe and have their needs provided for,” said Arlington County Board member Christian Dorsey, who serves as 2022 board chair of the Council of Governments.
“Their willingness to open up their hearts but also their homes to these children is just beyond commendable,” Dorsey said.
Regional foster parents of the year are celebrated each spring, both to honor their commitment and spread the opportunities that are available to others.
“It is our hope that these stories inspire other individuals and families to take the necessary steps to become foster parents,” said Erica Serrano, an Arlington County Department of Human Services outreach and recruitment specialist and chair of COG’s Foster Care Advisory Committee.
For information on all the 2022 recipients, see the Website at https://bit.ly/3PkQLbH.