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Foster parents throughout Humboldt County were honored today by the Board of Supervisors for their dedication to helping local children and youth.
Fifth District Supervisor Ryan Sundberg read a proclamation at this morning’s board meeting recognizing May 2014 as Foster Parent Appreciation Month, noting that “foster parents meet a special need in our community by ensuring children and youth receive the attention they need, the respect they deserve and unconditional love.”
Foster Parent Appreciation Month recognizes all the different types of care providers in the community, including licensed foster parents, tribal homes, relatives and non-related extended family members, which could include a family friend, teacher or someone else the child knows outside of his or her family.
“Foster parents are often called upon with very little advance notice to receive children and must be prepared to provide a loving, safe and nurturing home for children,” said Jeri Scardina, the Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS) outgoing deputy director of Children & Family Services. “Whether an emergency shelter situation or a longer term foster placement, foster parents provide excellent care 24/7 and work as an integral team to enhance a child’s well-being and support the child’s family of origin to achieve its goals.”
Currently, there are 240 children in foster care in Humboldt County. The county has 100 active relative, non-related extended family or tribally-specified foster homes and 49 active licensed county foster homes, for a total of 149 active homes.
Scardina said that DHHS is always looking for more foster homes to care for these children. Foster parents come in all shapes and sizes and from all different backgrounds. They can be married, single, retired, working, students and have children or not. The one common factor is they need to care about the well-being of children and their families.
During this morning’s board presentation, DHHS’ incoming Children & Family Services Deputy Director Stephanie Weldon thanked all of the care providers in the community for the challenging work they do each and every day.
“You open your hearts and your home to children that have experienced a significant amount of trauma,” Weldon said. “You open your home to their families and to the social workers and service providers. You open your hearts to provide a safe, consistent place.”
For more information about becoming a foster parent, call DHHS’ foster care hotline at 499-3410.
Follow us on Twitter: @HumCoDHHS.