County is recruiting foster families |

County is recruiting foster families

Provided to the Tribune

Due to the tremendous growth in El Dorado County, we are finding we do not have enough county foster homes, from the West Slope to the Tahoe Basin, with the shortage being the greatest in the South Lake Tahoe area.

El Dorado County Department of Human Services believes temporary care provided by foster families offers the most caring and supportive placement for children. We are now recruiting for foster families and are looking for caring families and individuals who are in the position to share their homes and lives with our children, until their families can reunite.

Being a foster parent is an amazing opportunity to help change the life of a child and the family forever. Becoming a foster parent is a way of giving back to the community and keeping our children in “their community.”

Becoming a foster parent is not as difficult as you may imagine. You can be a foster parent for as long as you feel you can provide the care the child needs. In some cases foster families have provided a “forever” home, when reunification has not occurred, guardianship and adoption are other likely permanent placement options.

Some of our foster parents provide homes for our younger children and infants, while other foster families prefer to provide a home for an entire sibling group, making every effort to keep children together. In other cases, some families work exceptionally well with teenagers. The foster family’s strengths are matched with the child and family’s needs.

Currently, El Dorado County foster families consist of single-parent or two-parent homes, and often involve retired couples. There are several myths surrounding qualifying to become a foster family. One is that you must own your own home or be of a specific ethnicity or gender.

One of our foster children is Sara. She loves ice cream, playing with her friends, and riding her bike. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, Sara’s family has found itself in crisis. Sara needs to spend some time away from her parents until they are able to be together again as a family. Sometimes, when a family is referred to the Department of Human Services temporary foster care becomes a necessary event. The goal for the department is to keep our community’s children safe and provide our parents with the help they need until the family can be together again. The average stay of a child in foster care is about three to six months, but can be longer, depending on the family’s needs. The remainder of the article will provide you with information on the process of becoming a foster parent and hopefully answer some of the questions you may have.

The El Dorado County Department of Human Services receives referrals on families requiring assistance on a daily basis. When a referral enters the department, a social worker visits the children and the home to meet with the family to assess the family’s needs. The safety of the home and the children is a priority for the social worker. If it is determined a family is in need of assistance in the way of intervention, requiring temporary out of home care for a child, an immediate need arises for a placement for the child. The first step for the Department of Human Services is to work diligently to find a relative who is available to care for the child. However, on occasion, placing with a relative is not possible. In that case, the social worker will seek a placement in a foster home in El Dorado County. Families can be secure in knowing their child is safe and close by when they are placed in an El Dorado County foster family home while the family works toward the goal of reunification. Foster families play an integral role in maintaining the link between parents and children during the time of transition. Our foster families provide the encouragement and support to the child’s family during a difficult and challenging time. They can be a key element in the family’s success.

If a family or individual is interested in becoming a foster parent, more information is available from the Department of Human Services, 3057 Briw Road, Placerville, CA (530) 642-7100. An information package with a questionnaire will be forwarded to you. An orientation meeting with the prospective foster parent/s follows and a home visit assessment to qualify the home for foster care licensure.

Foster parents then complete the necessary background checks, which is paid for by the county. A tuberculosis clearance certificate from a medical physician is required, as is 12 hours of foster parent training. Training can be received in a variety of ways as to fit a foster parent’s schedule. Foster parents also receive a stipend from the county depending on the child’s age and an annual clothing allowance.

Children like Sara desperately need safe homes with the support of consistently responsible and caring adult(s). Foster parenting is about believing in investing in the future. We hope you will consider making that investment and take the opportunity to change the life of a child and their family.

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