May is Foster Parent Appreciation Month. “It is an important time to thank all of the foster care families in El Dorado County,” said Jayle Goucher, Manager of the El Dorado County Foster Family Home Licensing Program. “Foster parents provide a vital role in the lives of children who have been displaced from their homes due to neglect or abuse. These parents open their hearts and homes to the children in our community. I truly believe it takes a very special person to be a foster parent.”
According to Goucher, there are currently 39 licensed foster family homes in El Dorado County, and many more are needed. Foster parents provide temporary, loving homes for children, ensuring that each child’s physical and emotional needs are met. The foster parent ensures that the child is clothed, fed, taken to school and to medical and counseling appointments, and other activities as needed. Foster family homes receive a reimbursement to help pay for the care of the child.
Children of all ages, from newborns to teens, and from all walks of life, enter the foster care system. “Sometimes we have children with special medical needs, or sibling sets that do best if placed together into foster care,” said Goucher. “Each situation is unique.”
There are specific criteria that must be met in order for someone to become a licensed foster parent. Foster parents must complete a health screening and criminal background check, must maintain certification in CPR and first aid, and complete a series of trainings. Once they are licensed, foster family homes may take in one or more children, depending upon the home situation and the needs of the child or children.
The El Dorado County Foster Family Home Licensing Program licenses families and individual’s homes. The program also offers trainings, meetings and support services to foster parents as part of a collaborative effort with partnering agencies, such as the local colleges. According to Goucher, there remains a need for additional caring adults in El Dorado County to consider opening their hearts and homes to children in need of foster care. People are encouraged to call and ask questions.
“Foster parenting is very hard work and not for everyone,” said Goucher. “What we hear from foster parents is that they do this because they care about kids and want to give back to the community. They quietly do extraordinary work every day. We want to thank them for their dedication.”
For more information about the Foster Family Home Licensing Program, visit the El Dorado County web site at www.edcgov.us/humanservices or call the licensing worker, Debra Brown at (530) 642-7122.
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