Alison and Terry Tinker

Alison and Terry Tinker were honored as 2019 Worcester Foster Parents of the Year for three decades of exhibiting love and kindness for youths in need, the award was in conjunction with the County Commissioners reading a proclamation designating May as National Foster Care Month during its meeting on Tuesday..

(May 10, 2019) In addition to designating May as National Foster Care Month, the Worcester County Commissioners this week honored Alison and Terry Tinker as the 2019 Worcester Foster Parents of the Year.

For more than three decades the Tinkers have been on the short list when the Worcester County Department of Social Services seeks an uplifting and nurturing environment for youth undergoing life disruptions.

Director of Services Roberta Baldwin said the Tinkers have opened their hearts and home to endless numbers of children in need over the last 32 years.

“They’ve adopted five children and provided not just forever families for those five children, but also children that have been fostered,” she said.

Baldwin said National Foster Care Month provides an ideal opportunity to honor the dedication to duty and endless hours worked by child welfare professionals.

“There’s no 8-5 for them [and] there’s no 40-hour week,” she said. “There’s many nights they are not available to their own families and children because they are out helping our most vulnerable.”

Echoing the spirit of social service workers, Terry Tinker said the couple is always on call and ready to respond day or night.

“Our house is always open,” he said. “There’s times they bring us children at midnight.”

Baldwin said there are currently 31 children living with foster care families throughout Worcester, many of whom have suffered trauma or mental health challenges.

Diana Purnell, Worcester County Commissioners president, thanked the Tinkers for helping the adults of tomorrow find renewed hope and reestablished trust.

“You are a blessing to this community and I know you’re a blessing to those kids,” she said.

After reading a proclamation recognizing the Tinkers as Foster Parents of the Year, Purnell said the impact on children in need goes beyond written sentiments.

“This is just a piece of paper, but what you do is written on the hearts of so many people,” she said. “Those children that you mentor and you love, it’s going to come back to you a hundred fold.”

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