What goals are you setting for the New Year? Do any of those goals involve helping children in your community? If so, Blount County DHR has several opportunities to help you accomplish such an important goal. Starting Tuesday, Jan. 11, they will offer foster parent classes at their office located at 55 DHR Lane in Oneonta. Classes will be held every Tuesday through March 22 from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m.
Together you and DHR can form a relationship that will benefit a few of the 40 to 60 child cases DHR sees monthly due to suspected child abuse or neglect. Blount County currently has only 20 licensed foster homes.
Beth Walker serves as the agency’s foster adoptive home licensing worker. She can answer any questions you may have as well as send you paperwork to get started. Phone Walker at 205-274-5200.
One aid in accomplishing a goal is preparation. To prepare for a role as a foster parent:
• Enroll in the upcoming foster parent classes.These classes will provide required information before any placement becomes available.
• Every individual in the home over the age of 19 will be required to have a background check. DHR will assist in getting fingerprinted.
• Medical clearance is required for all household members. DHR will provide the necessary documents for the appointment with your doctor.
• Foster parents must have a safe and reliable vehicle, driver’s license, and valid car insurance.
• Be able to maintain confidentiality regarding any potential foster child.
• The state requires all homes to have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
• First aid/CPR and water safety certifications are required and are offered at the DHR office.
If fostering is not the right fit for you and your family, here’s a few other ways to change a kid’s life for the better.
• Become a mentor. These children need positive role models and encouragers in their lives.
• Respite care and short-term care is also needed. This opportunity provides a fun aunt/uncle type experience helping current foster parents.
• Caregivers for newborns are needed until the children are old enough for daycare.
• Provide needed items for DHR’s Emergency Closet (diapers, bottles, pajamas, formula, and clothing).
For more information go to the “Blount County, Alabama Foster Parent Information and Recruitment” FaceBook page (www.facebook.com/BlountCountyALFosterParents) or the state website www.dhr.alabama. gov/foster-care.