There is always room for more foster families here
Published 5:04 pm Wednesday, June 2, 2004
For any child, the best hope for becoming a healthy, well-adjusted adult is to grow up in a stable home environment. Many children don't have that luxury with their own families, and the Escambia County Department of Human Resources (DHR) must step in to provide them with a secure living situation, which sometimes means foster care.
DHR has the noble goal of providing services to families in need so that ultimately these children can go back to their parents or other relatives. But in the meantime, foster parents are an undeniable positive resource to children who need care. DHR depends on people who are willing to become licensed and take the responsibility of caring for a child for about one year.
Currently, there are 38 children in need of foster care in this county and only 15 licensed foster families, meaning that 23 children have been placed in some form of care outside of the county.
Granted, being a foster parent is not a light task. Becoming licensed requires 10 weeks of training, background checks and home studies, but the real job begins when a child -- often emotionally pained by the unstable environment he was removed from -- comes into the new home.
The investment of taking in a foster child may be a big one, but the reward can be big too. What foster families give children in need is a chance to feel safe and cared for when previously they didn't know safety or care.
The 15 foster families in this county are to be applauded for their contribution to each foster child's life, but we shouldn't forget that there's always a need for more like them.