Feb. 12 is the start of Foster Family Appreciation Week in Florida and every day during the week we will recognize and appreciate one of our dedicated, caring and wonderful foster families here in Clay County. Today, we would like to introduce Paula and Ben Ruffner.
Paula and Ben Ruffner have been licensed Foster Parents in Clay County for over 3 years. Each child was accepted as their own, but they have always prioritized the goal of reunification. “We can’t say we don’t miss them but we are happy to be an important part of their development and a key part of their emotional stability.” Their current placement was initiated while the child was still in the ICU. Paula ensured that that child didn’t miss the opportunity to bond with a mother figure and would visit him 3-4 times a week, despite the hospital being over 40 miles away from their home. The child has since celebrated his first birthday, but not once has Paula or Ben lost sight of the thought of him going back to his biological family. Paula and Ben are first to volunteer to transport, take the child to all medical appointments, and keep a positive relationship with all parties involved. Just recently, Paula and Ben facilitated a meeting with the child’s biological father. They wanted to set his mind at ease about his son’s caregivers and, hopefully, motivate him to make the necessary changes for a successful reunification. Paula and Ben have also furnished the father with items to better care for his son (Stroller, car seat, etc.). Since their interaction, there is an ongoing relationship between them and it has been reported that the father is starting to make changes for the better. Although they know it will break their hearts when the child is reunified, they also are in tune as their role as a Foster Parent and hope that the family is reunited in the near future.