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‘Love and be loved’|Foster parent encourages participation

By By Lydia Grimes
news reporter

Gwen Minchew considers herself “in the know” — and she wants to spread the word.
As a foster parent in Escambia County, she has received the call from social workers many times, asking her to take in a child who needs a home, however temporarily.
There are 513,000 children in foster care in the United States — and that includes nearly 7,000 children in Alabama and 30 children in Escambia County.
Minchew and her husband, Mason, have been foster parents since 1997. In that time they have fostered 23 children and have three in their home now, along with three other children they have adopted.
In the scenario Minchew described, the Department of Human Resources has to step in and try to find a foster home in which to place the teenager until other arrangements can be made.
Minchew said one of the goals of foster parenting is to stop the cycle of hardship children in the system have been through.
The Minchews adopted three children that they fostered. They have a 7-year-old and two 9-year-olds.
In February, DHR will place its emphasis on foster parents. Nearly every community is suffering from a shortage of foster families, said Tracie James, with the Escambia County DHR office.
To learn more about foster parenting, visit the Department of Human Resources Web site at www.dhralabama.gov or call James at the Brewton DHR office at 251-809-2000.