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FOSTER PARENTS NEEDED

Covington County is in need of foster parents and those who are interested will have the opportunity to learn the basics of being a foster parent beginning Sunday.

There are some 30 or so licensed foster homes in the county, which is nearly half the number of foster children in the county.

Natalie Pinson, Resource and Adult Service Supervisor for the Department of Human Resources said, that need is even greater when you consider the number of at-risk children in the county.

“Our training starts Sunday and is 10 weeks each Sunday from 1:30-4:30,” she said. “They do not need to bring anything. If they are single just themselves. If married both spouses have to come.”

Foster parents are required to complete 30 hours of training in order to become licensed. That’s just three hours per week for 10 weeks.

“During this time, we help everybody with the paperwork that has to be completed,” Pinson said.

While foster parents can express their preferences for the age and gender of children in their care, Pinson said what they come into classes saying generally is not what works out.

During the classes, Pinson said she is able to get to know prospective foster parents, which helps when it comes time to pair children with foster parents.

“By the end of it, I know what their strengths are to match the child with them,” she said.

Pinson said foster parents learn in the classes the resources available to help them such as day care services and insurance and more.

There also is a need for foster parents willing to provide respite care – keeping children for a weekend or other short period of time.

Pinson said there is a special need for parents willing to take large sibling groups.

“We also have a need for people like nurses or teachers to take medically fragile children,” she said. “We also have a need for people willing to provide care for teenagers.

The 10-week class, which begins Sunday, is held at the DHR office in Andalusia.

For additional information, contact Pinson at  (334) 427-7933, or email her at Natalie.Pinson@dhr.alabama.gov.