BRANDON — This week we chat with Anita Mosley, a full-time house parent at A Kid’s Place, a group foster home in Brandon that caters to sibling groups. Mosley grew up as a preacher’s kid in a Christian home in Southern California, with 10 brothers and sisters. The environment was always peaceful and full of love. Her father would play jokes on them and would constantly find ways to keep them laughing. Her mother was a stay at home mom. She was always there to help provide for her children’s needs, adding to what Mosley considers a wonderful childhood.
For the past 13 years, Mosley has worked in social service for foster children and in several group homes. It was a way to show her own children that everyone deserves love, no matter their background or race, she said. Once her own children grew up and moved on, she was looking for a change and headed to Florida from California.
Q: How did you land at A Kid’s Place?
Answer: I was in Florida only a couple of weeks before I started looking for employment. I applied online (to become a house parent) at A Kid’s Place one evening. The next morning I woke up, and I had already been contacted by the Human Resources Department. I have now been working at A Kid’s Place for almost 2 1/2 years, and accepting employment at AKP has been one of the best decisions that I ever made.
Q: It must be emotional at times. How do you get past that?
Answer: It is definitely emotional. However, if you have the understanding that AKP is a “stepping stone,” that will help lead the children down their paths of life, and remember that our job is to nurture them while they are here, it makes it easier. As a mother and a care provider, it is natural to care but it is important to stay focused, because the children look to us for stability and guidance.
Q: What do you find most gratifying about your work?
Answer: The love that children receive at AKP, and their growth. Not only physically, but emotionally, as well. Some children that come into AKP do not know how to love, because love has never been shown to them. So, to finally see them understand the meaning of love and how to give and receive love is rewarding.
Q: What is your greatest challenge playing the role of interim parent for foster children?
Answer: To always remember and constantly remind myself that these particular children have been traumatized in a way that I never had to experience. Once you understand that, you can better understand how to deal with different behaviors and situations. Realizing that will automatically make you more sensitive to their needs.
Q: People in your line of work have to give up a lot, personally. In your experience, who makes the best house parent for abused and neglected children?
Answer: The best house parents are individuals with a true, and natural love for the children. People that are caring, wise, and organized. A lot of the children that come into AKP have never had any structure in their lives. When you provide structure, they feel safe and secure.