(New Philadelphia, Ohio) – Across the nation, there are over 437,000 children in foster care.
Almost half of these children are placed into a non-relative family foster home. This number grows daily due in large part to the opioid epidemic that our nation is facing.
Our community is no exception to the opioid crisis. However, we are facing our own crisis- a great need for more family foster homes. Our agency makes every effort to place the children that come into our care with a relative or family friend. When this is not possible family foster care becomes the best option. Ideally, the children would be able to remain in the same community or school district.
This makes the transition less stressful and speeds reunification of the children with their birth family. We need more homes willing to keep these children safe while their parents get the help they need. This is especially true for school-aged children. Many of the families that express an interest in providing foster for our agency are only willing to provide a home for children under the age of three.
When a child must be removed from their home, our goal is always to reunify the child with their birth parents or a relative. This requires our foster families to have a few key abilities:
- An understanding of the importance of birth families to the children in our care. Regardless of what happened with their family, the children still love them.
- A willingness to have open communication with the birth family and support a reunification case plan. This includes visitation with birth parents and/or siblings, phone calls, etc.
- Patience. Children often do not have the right words to express their feelings and so they come across as undesirable behaviors. These children are often confused and upset and it does take time for them to adjust to a new home.
- The ability to love a child that is not your own. All children need love regardless of their background, especially when they are struggling with their emotions.
- The ability to say good-bye once the family is ready to be reunited. Although, this is not always necessary. Many foster parents remain in contact as a much-needed support for the family they helped reunify.
Removal from birth families is extremely difficult for children. We need dedicated, compassionate families that are willing to help these children through this experience. Every fall we begin the process to license new foster families and we would love to have a full class each year.
Classes for the current year begin on September 8th. If you would like more information or have any questions please feel free to call Gabrielle at 330-556-6722 or Christine 330-308-7795.
You can also find all the Ohio requirements to become a foster parent and additional foster care information on our website at tcjfs.org.