May is Foster Parent Appreciation Month.
“It’s that time of year to thank all of the foster care families in El Dorado County,” said Jayle Goucher, manager of the El Dorado County Foster Family Home Licensing Program. “Foster parents provide a critical role for children in our community who have been displaced from their homes because of neglect or abuse. These parents open their hearts and homes to the children. I believe it takes a very special person to be a foster parent.”
There are currently 42 licensed foster family homes in El Dorado County, according to Goucher. Foster parents provide temporary, loving homes for children, ensuring that each child’s physical and emotional needs are met. The foster parent makes sure the child is clothed, fed, taken to school and to medical and counseling appointments, and other needed activities. Foster family homes receive a reimbursement to help pay for the care of the child.
Children of all ages, from newborns to teens, and from all walks of life, enter foster care. “We sometimes have children with special medical needs, or sibling sets who do best if placed together into foster care,” Goucher said. “Each situation is unique.”
Specific criteria must be met to become a licensed foster home. Foster parents must complete a health screening and criminal background check, must maintain certification in CPR and first aid, and complete a series of trainings. Once they are licensed, foster family homes may take in one or more children, depending upon the home situation and needs of the child or children.
The El Dorado County Foster Family Home Licensing Program licenses families and individual homes. The program also offers trainings, meetings and support services to foster parents as part of a collaborative effort with local colleges and other partnering agencies. According to Goucher, additional caring adults in El Dorado County are needed to consider foster parenting. People are encouraged to call and ask questions.
“Foster parenting is hard work and not for everyone,” Goucher said. “But fostering can be life changing for everyone involved. Several foster parents have told me that they still hear from some of the children they fostered, who are now adults. It’s very rewarding to hear that you made a lifelong difference in a young person’s life. We want to thank all of our foster parents for their dedication.”
For more information about the Foster Family Home Licensing Program, visit www.edcgov.us/humanservices or call licensing worker Debra Brown at 530-642-7122.