12.13.2017

Duncans Welcome More Than 100 Kids in Foster Care

By Trent Freeman, Treehouse Marketing and Communications

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When Juanita Duncan decided to become a foster parent 10 years ago, her son figured heavily into the decision.

“I didn’t want my son to grow up an only child. I thought this would be a great way for him to have a sibling,” Juanita said.

Since then, he’s had lots of siblings as she’s fostered more than 100 children in their home. Juanita has learned a lot about herself and how much she truly enjoys being a parent. And the benefits for her son have gone beyond anything she could have imagined.

“I think it’s made him a much more compassionate and understanding human being,” Juanita said. “He sees children from all walks of life, and he is very appreciative of the life he has.”

Juanita is licensed for up to three children at a time. Her longest placement was two and half years. Her shortest was just a couple of days.

The holidays have been a special time at the Duncan house each year. Treehouse has been an important part of that experience through our Holiday Magic program, which provides gifts to more than 5,500 children throughout the state.

“The kids have always gotten what they’ve wanted, and the gifts have been brand new,” Juanita said.

She recalled the year the boys in her care wanted a scooter: “They got their scooter!”

Juanita also appreciates the variety of gifts available for a wide range of ages. She has fostered kids from as young as a few months old to teen moms and their babies.

Holiday Magic was the only Treehouse program Juanita had used until about two and a half years ago. One of the kids wanted to play a sport, and a case manager encouraged her to visit The Wearhouse, our free store for youth in foster care. The store had just what he needed.

“Then two of my boys wanted to join Boy Scouts, and they needed all of this stuff because they’d never been a part of it before. And they needed it by the weekend,” Juanita said.

She also discovered our Little Wishes program, which provides funding for extracurricular activities and other experiences key to any child’s development. She stressed how much the kids like going to summer camps through the program.

It’s clearly important to Juanita that the children have fun, and she feels extremely fortunate to be able to influence the people they ultimately become.

“I like meeting all the little different personalities and watching them grow, just knowing that I’ve been able to touch someone’s life positively in some way,” Juanita said. “I figure if being a foster parent is what I can do to make it better for kids, then I will do that.”

And she’s delighted that her decision to become a caregiver has had the intended positive impact on her son. One boy, who has since been adopted, stayed with them for two years. It wasn’t always easy. But her son speaks of him often and has made it clear he misses him.

“That’s true brotherly love there,” Juanita said.

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About the Author

Trent Freeman is the Associate Director of Marketing & Communications at Treehouse.


Comment (1)

Tamber Cooper

December 13, 2017

I praise families that take foster children into their homes and hearts. What amazing people and such a great act of kindness.

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