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May is Foster Care Month; Foster Parents Needed

Baby
Photo by Gisela Giardino

Lucas County Children Services (LCCS) joins child welfare agencies nationwide in recognizing May 2011 as National Foster Care Month, and is appealing for more adults and families to become foster caregivers in Lucas County.

LCCS currently has about 270 adults and families providing homes for about 350 Lucas County children. These foster families care for children while their parents take time to work out the problems that prevent their kids from being safe at home. Foster parents also support birth families by providing guidance and support so families have a better chance of reunifying successfully.

Right now, LCCS needs more families to become foster caregivers. The need is particularly acute for families in the 43605, 43608, 43609 and 43612 zip codes, as well as for families who are able to care for groups of three or more brothers and sisters. "The bond between brothers and
sisters, particularly those who have been abused or neglected, is very strong. They provide each other with a sense of security. When siblings stay together in foster care, they adjust much better, since they don't have to worry whether their brother or sister is all right," says Dean Sparks, executive director of Lucas County Children Services.

The agency is also seeking families who are able to become foster parents for teens. "Imagine being a teenager and not having an adult to guide you through all of the important decisions that you have to make at that time in your life. It can be devastating. Teens need foster parents to help them get a good start on becoming adults," says Laura Draheim, assistant manager of placements at LCCS.

Adults interested in learning more about becoming foster parents can call 419-213-3336 for information, and are invited to attend free training sessions June 20-27 from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. at LCCS offices at 705 Adams Street, in downtown Toledo. Additional training sessions are scheduled later in the year; schedules are available at http://www.lucaskids.net.

With an estimated 12 million foster care alumni and 424,000 children and youth currently in out-of-home care, it is hard to ignore the impact of child abuse and neglect on our nation’s next generation. Every year, approximately 30,000 young people leave the foster care system at age 18 without lifelong connections to support them. These young adults navigate a weakened economy offering fewer jobs and less support for vital services. They need, and deserve, caring adults who love and support them because their own families are in crisis and unable to care
for them.

Photo by Gisela