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Lice Epidemic in
by Gloria Greco
April 22, 2001
of you have thought about becoming foster parents, I know because I've
written to many of you over the Internet. I am a foster mom of ten years.
My husband and I have worked with over forty children, boys and girls.
Taking the step of becoming a foster parent is not easy, but the rewards are plentiful. I would not be telling the truth if I didn't talk about the challenges, since these are plentiful as well.
For instance, if you have never gone to battle with lice you are certain to meet this foe as a foster parent. Unfortunately, the training often overlooks this small detail since it may chase away desperately needed foster parents. As a foster parent, I would rather see this subject covered up front. The schools are infested with lice these days so by no means do only foster children experience this problem. Let me tell you what I've learned through the school of hard knocks, what I share in this article is not what I did the first time. But it is what I do now.
The first mission one has when a child is brought to your home is to break the ice and help your new foster child feel at home. We are an emergency home, which means we can have children brought to us by a police officer or a social worker depending on the circumstances. The first mission at this time is to help relieve the tension; my husband is very good at this since he is always making jokes. After a few minutes, sometimes even an hour, something you grow to know, one naturally moves to the next phase of the introduction. My husband and I work this process together. It usually means showing our child or children their room and then I give them their very own tooth brush and hairbrush. As I'm showing them where their personal items go, I slip on a pair of disposable gloves and do the head check from the base of the hairline up the back of the head. Within moments I will know if our child is lice-free... most are - or does our new foster child desperately need help? Those who are free of lice are greatly relieved to see that I move on, those who are not... are waiting to see what my reaction is going to be. It is important not to react, to simply observe the situation and reassure your child that you will overcome this little obstacle together. Communication is important at this stage of the game. If the child has lice, (which most know and hope you don't find out), you reassure your child that you have handled it before and know exactly what to do. Since this is now true, I give them the confidence to trust me to help them. It will involve missing three days of school, if it is a bad case.
You will need four things
to get the job done; shower cap, petroleum jelly, disposable gloves and
a ton of shampoo or some people use dish detergent.
Even if your daughter
or foster daughter is a teenager, she will need help with this. It is not
easy to get out. If you're working with a boy, it is possible that a less
drastic method can be used, such as olive oil; but after looking at the
methods and medicines available, I wouldn't waste my time. Once the jelly
is out, you work at combing out the nix. They will come out easily and
most will be gone and the few that are left will end up looking more like
|Copyright © Gloria Greco Publisher/Editor/Writer for the Communicator, Community News from 1982-1994. Author of Good and Evil In Our Times and Enter The Silence, published in 1995 and 1999.|
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