Catherine and Gerald Hart – Fostering Over 200 Children and Still Going!
Catherine and Gerald Hart have been one of our most dedicated foster families. They’ve cared for over 200 foster children of all ages while raising two daughters of their own. The Harts accomplished this extraordinary feat by carving time out of their busy lives to welcome children into their home. They shared their love and opened their hearts to every child who entered.
Mr. and Mrs. Hart frequently communicates with many of the children they’ve fostered. Many are now adults with their time in foster care long behind them. They keep in touch with the Hart’s because they still remember the warm memories and loving experiences they shared.
Celebrating Catherine and Gerald Hart
We can’t let this milestone pass without honoring and celebrating Catherine and Gerald Hart for their dedication to foster children and their families. We’re pleased that they have graciously agreed to share a few details from their years of personal experience.
Fostering Children of All Ages
When the Harts decided to foster only children ages 8 to 10 and older, they removed all of the infant and youth equipment and furniture from their home. This became a challenge when they received an emergency call and agreed to care for a four-year-old and an infant sibling. The couple responded to the emergency with their usual warmth and kindness. They pooled their available resources, created a child-friendly space, and welcomed the children when they arrived.
Communicating With Biological Parents
The Hart’s appreciate the DCF concept of “fostering families.” They have allowed permissive calls from biological parents. Most often contact has involved communication with a mother through phone calls or text messages. The couple has occasionally met parents for supervised visits when it didn’t violate a DCF rule.
The Harts have also received calls from relatives who shouldn’t have had access to their phone number. Catherine Hart now manages unauthorized communications by protecting their contact information. She uses a dedicated text messaging app that doesn’t reveal her number. Currently, only one mother has her cell number and permission to call.
The DCF’s Fatherhood Initiative has improved its ability to locate fathers using DNA. When Gerald reflects on increased contacts with biological fathers, he recalls an instance where the father was personally involved and the mother wasn’t. Based on his experience, he’s seen that when fathers are given a choice, “…they stepped right up…”
Making a Difference
When the Harts talk about their foster care experiences, you hear heartfelt love and commitment. Fostered children and their families recognize it too. One mother knew that her child would be returning to child care and asked Mrs. Hart if she would care for her daughter again. Naturally, she said yes.
We honor the Harts and the many warm relationships they’ve developed over their 25 years of foster care. One of their former foster children expressed the sentiment of over 200 children when she exclaimed, “I need my Catherine and Gerald Hart time.”