Do you have love to give a child?Published 12:04am Friday, July 13, 2012
The Mississippi Department of Human Services, Division of Family and Children’s Services, invites you to attend a resource parent kick-off event Saturday. The event will be at Memorial Park in Downtown Natchez from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m.
The purpose of this event is to increase the awareness about the need for resource parents (foster/adopt) right here in our community.
In Adams County there are approximately 65 children who are in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Human Services through no fault of their own. There are only 22 licensed resource homes in Adams County at this time.
What are resource (foster/adoptive) parents? Resource parents are single individuals or married couples who complete the steps to become licensed to serve as caretakers for foster children. They work with birth families and hope changes are made that will allow the children to a safe home. Resource parents may choose to adopt the children if this is not possible.
These families provide a safe and stable environment for children who may be experiencing stress and trauma from recent life changes.
They receive a monthly reimbursement to help offset the cost of caring for children.
Social workers visit the home on a regular basis to provide services and support the children and family.
What should I know about resource parenting? The goal for most children in foster care is to be reunited with their parents. Resource parents work with birth parents to achieve this goal.
The length of time a child will stay with you depends on many factors. It could be for a few days, a few months or much longer. Medical and dental costs are covered for children in foster care.
Teens in foster care are eligible for programs that help them learn life skills and may be eligible for some financial assistance with college.
Are you asking yourself, “Can I be a successful resource parent?”
If so, I ask, do you have current or previous experience parenting or working with children? Do you have the time and willingness to be involved in the life of a child? Do you feel comfortable providing care for a child who may have been raised in an abusive or unstable environment and needs time to establish trust? Do you feel comfortable helping a child emotionally cope with life changes? Are you able to provide consistent, loving and stable parenting to children who may test boundaries?
The following is a testimony given by a resource family in Mississippi.
“Gary and I are the parents of a 24-year-old daughter and a 23-year-old son. After becoming empty nesters in 2007, God gave me a vision to minister to children. This vision grew into a desire for us to become resource parents. While this started out as my vision, without my husband’s total support none of this would be possible. Repeatedly, people will say, ‘The children are blessed to be in your home.’ However, it is just as much a blessing to us to have them in our home.
“Caring for these children has taken us to a new level of love, mercy, grace and patience. There are challenges that arise, but through God’s grace we do what it takes to make it through the trying times. Being a foster parent has really been a blessing in that we have not only been able to develop relationships and have a positive impact on the lives of the children, but in the lives of their mothers as well. The children’s mothers often refer to us as ‘Mamma’ and ‘Papa.’ Even though fostering two to five children at once is challenging, we would love to extend God’s love and grace to a larger group of children one day.”
What could becoming a resource parent do for someone like you?
If you would like to find out from other resource parents, you are invited to attend this community awareness event from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday in Memorial Park/ Downtown Natchez.
For more information, please call me at 601-442-7031 or 1-800-821-9157 to inquire about becoming a resource parent.
Katie Foster is a resource recruitment specialist with the Mississippi Department of Human Services, Division of Family and Children’s Services.