Foster parents needed locally

Double Springs Mayor Elmo Robinson signs a proclamation for National Foster Care Month. Shown with the mayor, from left, Martha Haynes, social workers at the Winston County Department of Human Resources; Foster Parent  Cathy Shipley and DHR Director Diane Watson.

DOUBLE SPRINGS       -  The need for foster parents in Winston County has become so great, that foster children are having to be placed into homes outside the county.
This need was brought to the attention of Double Springs Mayor Elmo Robinson by employees with the Winston County Department of Human Resources,  when the mayor signed a proclamation declaring May as National Foster Care Month.
“We always support DHR in anything that they do with foster care parents,” Mayor Robinson stated. “It’s a shame we have so many children out there that need foster care.
“You have to really appreciate these parents who will come on and take these children and raise them like they do,” Robinson added.
Foster children statewide number 5,819, compared to the Winston County DHR currently having 46 children in foster care, according to Winston County DHR Director Diane Watson.
However, Winston County also has 12 foster children placed out of the county, not counting the ones already in foster homes outside the county, Watson pointed out.
Winston County currently has 20 foster homes with four of those out of the county, in Marion and Morgan counties.
At least 16 of those 20 are full and cannot accept any more foster children, according to DHR officials.
The three pending foster care homes are all outside Winston County, including Marion, Walker and Cullman counties.
The National Foster Care Month is designed to allow DHR employees to show how much they appreciate foster parents, who are willing to change their lives by taking in foster children and becoming foster parents, Watson said.
These parents, Watson added, are not only willing to give their homes but their time and themselves for children who do not have a home, she pointed out.
The shortage of foster parents does not affect just Winston County but it is an issue across both the state and nation, DHR officials stated.
“Children are having to be placed out of their county, away from their normal settings,” said Watson, “so not only are they being moved from their home, they are removed from their community, any friend connections.
“Any connections they have in the community, a lot of times they are having to be removed  from that also, because we don’t have local foster parents,” Watson continued.


See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.
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