DHR seeking foster parents in county

Published 12:02 am Saturday, November 26, 2011

“Open your heart; open your home,” is the message the Covington County Department of Human Resources is sending out this month as they celebrate National Adoption Month.

It’s also a literal message as the need for foster parents is ever growing, said CCDHR director Lesa Syler.

“Covington County currently has three licensed foster homes in the county,” she said. “Over the past year, more than 400 adoptions by foster parent have been completed across the state.

“While we are celebrating each of these successful adoptions, the need for foster parents has increased as many of these foster homes have closed,” she said. “While every county works to place children in their own county when they enter foster care, if the resources are not available, children have to be placed in other communities.”

Which is why the agency is working to increase the available resources for Covington County as well as the surrounding areas, she said.

An orientation meeting for those interested in becoming a foster parent and/or adoptive parent is set for Mon., Nov. 29, at 6:30 p.m. at the county DHR office.

According to DHR statistics, there are approximately 6,200 children currently in foster care statewide. Of these children, approximately 600 are legally available for adoption. Nearly 300 of these children will be adopted by their current foster parents; however, the remaining 300 are waiting for a forever family to call their own.

To become a foster parent, one must complete an application, as well as a 30-hour training course, a background check and home inspection.

“This is a time to recognize the adoptive and foster families who have opened their homes and hearts to children in need, while encouraging more Alabamians to consider adopting young people of all ages,” Syler said. “Because many people are intimidated by the whole process, we are hosting an information session to answer any questions prior to the family actually making a commitment or completing an application.

“This will be an informal, ‘no strings attached’ meeting,” she said. “We hope that anyone who has ever considered becoming a foster parent will come.”

Syler said DHR officials will share information and answer any questions about the process. The next training classes are tentative set for January, she said.

For more information or to initiate the process, contact Covington County DHR at 427-7900.