Pike County DHR seeks foster parents

Published 11:07 pm Friday, March 21, 2014

Pike County could use a few more good parents.
According to Florence Mitchell, director of the Department of Human Resources, the number of qualified foster parents does not meet the county’s demands.
“We have seven foster families and could use some renewed interest in providing foster care,” she said.
Families or individuals at least 19 years of age can qualify as foster parents by completing a 30-hour preparation course. The process also includes a thorough background check.
“The first step is wanting to help and having the space available,” said Margaret Ingram, a social worker at Pike County DHR. “You do the training and then there is some paperwork.”
She and Mitchell can walk anyone with the desire to foster a child through the process.
According to the Alabama DHR’s minimum standards, foster parents have to provide adequate shelter, balanced meals, clothing and guidance to their foster children. Families receive some financial support for room and board.
“The only expense is your time,” Mitchell said. “I mean a lot of it is just putting forth the effort to do it.”
All members of the family have to be in good health and willing to share their home. The home needs enough space for the foster child, which usually means an extra bedroom.
Foster families should offer experiences in community living, including familiarization with community resources for work, worship, recreation, shopping and socialization.
“Children should live in an environment where they can be supported and respected as individuals and receive guidance and help in setting goals based on their own strengths and needs,” state the guidelines.
Families can foster up to six children at a time. Ingram and Mitchell try to place siblings together.
Foster families and the children they foster are each assigned a social worker to support them.
For more information about fostering a child, contact Margaret Ingram at 807-6169 or margaret.ingram@dhr.alabama.gov.

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