MOLLIE S. WATERS/THE GREENVILLE STANDARD
The Butler County Department of Human Resources will be holding foster parent and adoptive parent training classes starting on Sept. 1 at 6 p.m. at the DHR’s new office in Greenville.
According to DHR Director Jennifer Dunkin, there is a definite need for more foster families in the county.
“Butler County has five foster homes,” said Dunkin.
“This is a very low number. There have been times in our county when we have had 10-12.”
Dunkin said foster homes are needed in every area in the county.
“Think about it, if a child is removed from his/her home, there is a chance the foster home will not be in his/her school district,” stated Dunkin. “So, there is another move for the child who has already incurred so much. There are times children are placed out of county because of the lack of homes in our county.”
Dunkin said having to move children away from places of familiarity often results in additional difficulties for them because the children will face being away from people and places they know, such as schools and doctors.
This is why more local families are needed.
The process of becoming a foster or adoptive family can seem a little daunting at first, but Dunkin explained that DHR is there to help families who are interested.
“In order to become a foster parent, there is a lengthy but doable process,” added Dunkin.
“There is, of course, an application that includes all household members and their financial stability, health screenings, criminal backgrounds checks as well as a home study by the licensing worker.”
Dunkin said she feels the hardest part of the commitment to become a foster or adoptive parent is the ten-week Group Participant Selection Training.
“This GPS training is once a week for ten weeks and is mandatory,” said Dunkin.
“It is held at Butler County DHR. Classes are held twice a year.”
Dunkin added that being a foster or adoptive parent can be a challenge, but it is also rewarding for those who want to help children during difficult times in their lives.
“Fostering children is a calling,” said Dunkin. “It is not for everyone and certainly not for ones who feel there will be personal gain. The harsh reality is when children enter foster care it is a result of an immediate threat or danger as a result of abuse and/or neglect.”
Dunkin said it takes special people to be foster parents, and those people often have to be ready at a moment’s notice to welcome a child into their homes.
“The idea is for foster parents to care for and love the children, providing them safety and stability so they can start to heal both emotionally and physically,” stated Dunkin.
“All the while, the department is working with the family so the children can be reunited into a safe, stable environment.”
For more information, contact Lisa Butts at 334-382-4416 or visit the DHR in their new location at 182 West Adams Street.