With more than 1,200 Idaho children in foster care because of abuse, neglect or family crisis, there is a consistent need for foster and adoptive parents in the state.
“We have a high need for foster and adoptive parents in Lewis, Idaho and Clearwater Counties,” said Julie Gardner, recruitment coordinator, Idaho Child Welfare Research and Training Center (ICWRTC). “We are reaching out to community members to ask for their help in keeping foster children in their home communities.”
“Due to low populated areas and geographical distances, it is challenging to have enough foster homes,” Gardner added. “When there is not a home available, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare staff search for foster homes in Lewiston. If there are no homes in Lewiston, then families are contacted in Moscow. The result is children being placed outside of their home community reducing connections with their current supports such as school teachers, friends and families.”
One Church One Child (OCOC) of Idaho has built a partnership between Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, communities of faith in Grangeville and other invested partners such as ICWRTC who are working together to start improving outcomes for foster children in rural areas.
“We are currently partnering with churches in Idaho County to provide supports for foster children and families as well as asking families who have the heart to foster to learn more about becoming a foster family,” said Mike Horne, One Church One Child VISTA coordinator.
The community is invited to learn more at two upcoming informational meetings. The first is from 1 to 2:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 5, at the Kamiah Community Presbyterian Church, 620 7th St. The second is from 6-8 p.m. Feb. 5 at The Life Center, 4432 Highway 12. Contact Julie Gardner at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 818-1956. For information about OCOC, contact Mike Horne at 799-4363.
“The goal of the foster program is reunite the child with his family,” Gardner said. “But in the meantime, we need families who can provide a safe and loving home until reunification can occur.”
Beyond a few requirements, foster parents are often as varied as the children in care. Gardner encourages those who are flexible and open to learning new things to call the Idaho CareLine at 2-1-1 or visit www.FosterCare.dhw.idaho.gov.