Number of foster children nearly doubles

Published 2:29 am Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The need for foster parents keeps growing in Covington County.

DHR’s Natalie Pinson said that there are currently 63 children in foster care.

That’s 25 more children than the Star-News reported in DHR care in August 2015.

That number is even up from May 2016, when it was just shy of 50.

“Our usual number was in the 40s,” Pinson said. “But we are up to 63 foster children, and as those increase there is a need for more foster parents.”

Pinson said that there is a great emphasis on the need for foster parents willing to accept large sibling groups, special needs children and older children.

“When there’s a need, it’s crucial for us to find someone in the county,” she said. “Right, now with these three groups, we have to go outside the county to place them in homes.”

Pinson said the goal is always to place foster children in homes in their current school district to help with continuity of their lives.

No having enough foster parents takes children out of the school district and often the county.

“We are up to 27 foster families,” she said. “We only have three families who don’t have children placed.”

Pinson said that some families have preferences to what children they will take. For example, some families only want smaller children.

“We just have to go by the family’s preference as to how they would like to have the children,” she said.

Pinson said DHR is issuing a plea to potential foster parents to come to their January group preparation and selection (GPS) classes.

GPS is a 30-hour course that allows potential foster/adoptive families an opportunity to understand the strengths and needs of children who have spent time in the foster care system.

During GPS sessions and through homework assignments, potential foster/adoptive parents are asked questions that allow families to assess their own strengths and allow the social worker to get to know the family and their strengths. The groups usually meet for three hours one evening per week for 10 weeks.

If you are married, both prospective parents are required to attend all sessions.

The next session will be held on Monday nights and will include the following topics:

  • Welcome to the group preparation and selection program;
  • Where the MAPP leads: A foster care and adoption experience;
  • Losses and gains: The need to be a loss expert;
  • Helping children with attachments;
  • Helping children learn to manage their behaviors;
  • Helping children with birth family connections;
  • Gains and losses: Helping children leave foster care;
  • Understanding the impact of fostering or adopting;
  • Perspectives in adoptive parenting and foster parenting; and
  • Endings and beginnings.

For more info, or to sign up call 334-427-7900.