• Meaghan Davis Named Talbot County Foster Parent of the Year

  • Meaghan Davis Named Talbot County Foster Parent of the Year
     
    Talbot County Department of Social Services (TCDSS) recently announced that Meaghan Davis of Easton has been named the 2022 Foster Parent of the Year. May is National Foster Care Month. Davis, who has been a foster parent for the past five years, has helped care for some of the county’s most vulnerable children in foster care while caring for her own biological child.
    Paris Quillet, Special Projects Coordinator for TCDSS comments, “She is filling the needs that few people will do. She has stepped up to the plate in some of the most challenging circumstances and at a moment’s notice. When we needed immediate foster care for a substance-exposed newborn, she agreed to learn the care required and jumped right in. She has also helped with the placements of children in the LGBTQ community.”
    Davis says she has always wanted to care for children. She states, “Since I was young, I always said that I wanted a big family and to have a few children, but not all of them would be mine. I never knew fully what that meant until I got older. When I was 18, I saw something in the newspaper about becoming a foster parent through a private agency. Although they informed me I was a great candidate, they told me to touch base with them when I was a little older.”
    “As a child, I always wanted to help other children in need. This is the only thing that has made sense that I'm supposed to do in life.”
    Meaghan has spent many years helping people in the community on her own. About five years ago, after her own daughter had gotten older, Meaghan felt like she still had more to give so she decided to revisit the idea of being licensed as a foster parent. Her first placement was a nine-year-old boy who she fostered for two and half years. Her most recent placement was a newborn.
    “If I'm able to be a support for another person, I'm going to do that,” she recalls.
    Her compassion runs deep for not only the children, but also for the parents of the children she cares for. “Sometimes, people need you to be a support to them or mentor them, providing things that they didn't even realize they needed. I have compassion and empathy for people in these situations,” she adds.
    Meaghan views her role as a foster parent as “holding down the fort for the parents” until they can care for their children again. She tries to provide for the child’s needs in the interim.
    Taking on a newborn was difficult. Meaghan remembers during the first few months of caring for her most recent newborn that she would only sleep two to four hours a day.
    “Substance-exposed newborns often cry and have tremors. The muscles in their mouths aren’t always developed enough, so they can have a tough time feeding making feedings extremely long. In this case, I cared for a newborn while still going to work part-time as a caregiver,” she recalls.
    Over time, the baby under Meaghan’s care has thrived. She approaches every placement with compassion, often meeting with a child’s parent a couple of times a week to provide for visits, helping document a child’s milestones for the parents, or helping connect parents to resources they may need. One mother even asked Meaghan to be her child’s godmother.
    Meaghan’s own daughter is graduating from high school this spring but will be staying local for college. She enjoys helping her mother with the children for whom she is providing care.
    When Meaghan was asked about what it takes to be a foster parent, she comments, “It’s definitely not for everybody. In my experience, you need to be flexible. Having compassion and empathy not only helps the children in care but creates support for the family unit, which is an important part of foster parenting.”
    Meaghan also provides respite care and supervised visits for Talbot County between biological families and their children, even when these children are not placed in her home.
    She adds, “There will always be children that need placement or respite for whom there are no other options. I feel called to be that option for them.”
    “Meaghan makes children feel special and welcome and works with their families. Her work with the biological family of the newborn has exceeded all expectations of the department and the family. She assisted with daily visits, regular virtual contact, reunification, ongoing respite, and several bonding strategies. TCDSS recognizes how difficult this work is, the level of selflessness required, and the loss that the family endures. We honor Meaghan for all her work in 2021 and 2022,” states Quillet.
    A little more than half of the children in foster care on the Mid-Shore are under the age of 14 and many are sibling groups. Talbot County needs foster parents for long-term placement to provide temporary, safe, stable, and nurturing homes for children to live in until they can be reunited with their own families, placed with relatives, or adopted. Call the Talbot County Department of Social Services at 410-820-7371 for information about becoming a foster parent.