Parents find challenges, rewards in helping foster children turn their lives around
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From the left, Minuette, Dan, Angie and Josette Farmakis sit together in their Elkhorn home. Minuette and Josette were adopted by Dan and Angie after suffering years of abuse and neglect during childhood. The issues facing some foster children have grown more serious over the years, said Brian Sullivan, clinical supervisor and referral coordinator for Community Care Resources, the agency through which Minuette and Josette were placed. Terry Mayer/staff.
ELKHORN — Dan Farmakis remembered his 18-year-old daughter, Minuette, making a heartfelt confession shortly before her high school graduation.
“She said, ‘Dad, I never thought I was going to live to see 18, let alone graduate high school and head off to college,’” he recalled. “I mean, she truly felt like it was a miracle.”
Minuette was adopted, along with her biological sister, Josette, 17, by Elkhorn residents Dan and Angie Farmakis in 2007, two years after being placed in their home through Community Care Resources Inc., a Middleton-based treatment foster care program that provides services across the state.
The family says the two girls had suffered physical abuse and neglect for 11 years of their childhood until a grade school teacher intervened.
Minuette developed post-traumatic stress disorder because of the abuse, and both she and her sister have gone through therapy.
“These two went through hell, literally,” Dan Farmakis said.
Now Minuette is a student at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, majoring in education. Josette is currently enrolled in an online high school diploma program, and wants to study nursing after she graduates.
“That’s one of the rewards right there — to see these kids having a life and knowing they believe they have a future and be successful,” Dan Farmakis said of his role as a treatment foster parent.
Children placed through C.C.R. typically range in age from 9 to 18 years old and have emotional or behavioral disorders, from mental health problems to exceptional needs in school. Over the years, the agency has added specialized treatment programs such as a sexual abuse treatment/offender program, to deal with growing problems in society and changing family dynamics. Children’s problem behaviors may range from skipping school to getting involved in criminal activity.
“In every single child that’s been in our home, as they’re growing, we see the difference — whether it’s small or big — we made in their lives,” Dan Farmakis said. “There’s a direct impact of our parenting and what we did for them and with them.”
Read the full story in the e-edition of Walworth County Sunday, HERE.