For families and individuals interested in becoming a foster family, Patty Wassink with the Warren County Children and Youth Foster Care Program, provided some information on the program and on how to register.
According to Wassink, "Foster care is designed to provide a temporary, substitute, family experience for a child. children have been removed from their homes for a variety of reasons. The primary goal of foster care is to reunite families."
The program currently has 22 licensed foster homes across a five county region which include two parent households, with and without children, and single parent households, comprised of both male and female single parents.
"We are always in need of foster homes and they don't always need to be in out county," Wassink said. "We have foster homes in five counties. There can be reasons why we have to place them out the county."
Children age from infancy through 21 years-of-age, as foster children can voluntarily choose to stay in the system until 21.
To become a foster parent an applicant must:
Be 21 years-of-age or older,
Possess a valid driver's license,
Demonstrate financial and emotional stability,
Complete a medical examination,
Pass child abuse clearances,
Pass a criminal record check,
Pass an FBI fingerprint clearance,
Attend orientation training and on-going trainings once approved,
Complete a home study and home safety evaluation.
According to Wassink, foster homes are needed for children of all ages but especially for older children.
"The need for foster families continues, especially the need for foster homes for older children," Wassink said. "We hope that individuals would consider caring for those kids as well.
"We try to match them. We try to find families that will allow this child to succeed. We don't provide just any temporary home. If a family asks for only zero to five year-olds, we're not going to send them a 17 year-old. We respect their wishes, because that's best for everyone involved. We respect and understand if there are certain parameters families can accept. We certainly don't want to bounce children from home to home."
Further information on the program and application information can be obtained by contacting Warren County Children and Youth at 814-726-2100.