Lake Co. Child Services Seeking Foster Parents
May 20, 2014 — Foster parents are needed for some of region’s neediest children.
The Lake County office of the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) is always looking for adults with a strong desire to invest in the future. May is National Foster Care Month and because of this heightened awareness, an informational open house for prospective foster parents is being offered on Thursday, May 29 in Merrillville.
“When it’s not safe for a child to stay in his or her own home, our first response is to always look for a nearby relative that can care for the child,” said Richard Ban, director of the Lake County DCS office. “But when that option is not available, we need to have good foster families ready and willing to provide temporary care for our children in need.”
Foster parents can be stay-at-home parents or they can work outside the home. They may rent or own their own house, apartment or condominium, as long as it meets safety standards. Besides providing food and shelter, they assist with practical needs like helping with visits with the child’s family, taking them to any needed therapy sessions, medical and other appointments and ensuring there are extra-curricular activities.
Local foster parents are especially needed so school-age children removed from their homes can continue to attend their own school and maintain contact with their friends. Those willing to foster teenagers or sibling groups are particularly desired.
The May 29 informational open house will take place from 11 am to 3 pm at The Patio restaurant, 7706 Broadway in Merrillville. Foster care specialists from the local DCS office will be available to discuss foster parent responsibilities as well as the licensing process, including the home study.
In addition, local providers of community-based family services will furnish brochures and other informational materials and be on hand to answer questions. Light refreshments will be served. The open house format will allow prospective foster parents to come and go as they please.
Officials say a willingness to step up and help a child in need is the most important prerequisite for becoming a foster parent.
In Lake County, more than 800 abused or neglected children currently live in non-relative foster homes because it is not safe for them to live in their own homes.