Foster Parent Appreciation Month calls attention to need for foster care homes

By Hayley Stoebner
Contributing writer

There is a growing crisis in Washington’s foster care system.

There are currently more children entering foster care than the present number of foster homes can handle and the need for more homes is urgent. Sadly, due to the shortage of homes, many of the children from Douglas County end up being moved to other counties in the state — this can seem like light years away from everything familiar to a child. (The outcomes for children in foster care are much better when they are maintained in their home community.) In some areas of the state, children as young as 2 years old have had to be supervised by social workers in hotel rooms overnight because there was no foster placement available.

Brothers and sisters are frequently separated because a relative cannot be found and there are not enough foster homes that can accommodate sibling groups.

Lastly, a handful of children are placed in homes with families who do not speak the same language as them because there are few Spanish-speaking foster families in our area. Imagine being a 1-year-old child, separated from your siblings, placed in a home with complete strangers where no one speaks your language and you can’t understand where your mother/father have gone. A scenario similar to this one is not uncommon in the world of child welfare.

FosteringWA works very hard to ensure that the aforementioned scenarios do not come true and that all children can have a safe and nurturing home. FosteringWA is a program of Eastern Washington University’s College of Social Sciences. FosteringWA has a contract with the state Department of Social Services to recruit foster parents in Eastern Washington. Everyone is welcome to apply to become a foster parent, but FosteringWA is especially looking for people willing to care for sibling groups, children ages 12 and older, infants exposed prenatally to drugs/alcohol, and Spanish-speaking families.

FosteringWA always looks for ways to reach potential foster parents. Please consider inviting FosteringWA to your church, organization, or group to talk with prospective foster parents about how to get licensed. Or, if you own a business, please consider posting a recruitment flyer somewhere in your business.

If you are interested in learning more about how to become a foster parent, please contact me at FosteringWA at (509) 322-1191 or hstoebner@ewu.edu.

 

May is National Foster Parent Appreciation month.

Hayley Stoebner, MSSW, is FosteringWA recruitment coordinator for Okanogan, Chelan, Douglas, Grant and Adams counties.