Between them, Edda Fried and Ann Weinstein have had 80 children.
Fried and Weinstein, both in their fifties, are foster mothers through the Jewish Child Care Association (JCCA) Foster Home Division, an agency of New York’s UJA-Federation. The association places children ranging in age from infants to teenagers and pays the foster family a monthly board rate for each child. In some cases, JCCA also pays for summer camp, religious schooling and even music lessons.
Edda Fried, for instance, has taken in 35 children since she became a foster mother in 1975. She heard about JCCA from her sister-in-law, who was a foster child herself. “She always told me that foster care saved her life,” said Fried. “My husband and I already had four children. We would have had more of our own, but we couldn’t afford it. In this JCCA program, we could give children our love and care, even though we didn’t have the money to support them.”
At one point, says Fried, “There were a dozen kids with us. When people stopped me on the street and asked, Are all these yours?’ I always said, ‘Yes.’ We didn’t distinguish. We loved them all.”
Weinstein has taken in more than 45 children. She is an “emergency mother” who is often called by hospitals late at night to take in a child. She keeps in touch with a social worker, a case aide and a supervisor who help guide her and the children, in case any problems arise.
There are no national statistics, but in the New York City area alone, 17,000 children will be in need of foster homes by the end of 1989; of these according to one estimate, only “a couple hundred are Jewish.