Area faces shortage of

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 28, 1999

foster care families


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Dec. 27, 1999 11 PM

According the Pike County Department of Human Resources and the area Family Finders program, Pike County falls well short of its need for potential foster care homes.

Paul Butler, acting director of the Pike County Department of Human Resources, said there are eight licensed foster care homes in the county while the demand justifies as many as 25.

"From what we have seen in the past, there is not a lack of generosity in this area," Butler said. "I think the shortage is due to the fact that we haven’t gotten the word out."

Right now, the state has 144 children who need placement into foster care facilities, Butler said. The state’s goal to cause as little disruption in the child’s life as is possible by placing them in the communities they are familiar with and to keep them in the same school system whenever possible, which results in a demand for a number of diverse potential homes.

"We also work to keep from disrupting a sibling group," Butler said. "We don’t want families to fall apart as a result of what we are doing."

Janet Rawls, regional coordinator for Family Finders, a placement agency that finds homes for foster children, said finding the right people to handle the specific needs of the child is crucial to her organization and to the welfare of the child.

"In many cases, these children have suffered from abuse and neglect," she said. "We want to make sure that a potential home can meet the needs of the child."

Rawls said emphasis has been placed on making sure that foster parents are informed and are consulted when decisions about the child are being made.

Families signing up to be foster care families will undergo a comprehensive 10-week training program to make sure they are able to handle the program.

The training is held with the supervision of Family Finders in conjunction with the Department of Human Resources. In addition, a foster parent will help those in the class with any questions or issues they may have.

Rawls said Family Finders is planning to hold another class in Troy for foster parents in January and encourages those interested to call her and to enroll.

Family Finders’ toll free number is 1-800-926-8887.