From Terri Beaty
To the Editor,
May is National Foster Care Month. No matter how much time you have to give, you can do something positive that will Change a Lifetime for a child in need. Each year in West Virginia children are abused, neglected, or abandoned by their families. Many of them are placed in foster care where they could stay for weeks, months or even years. Statistics show that about 4,000 children are in West Virginia foster care systems. West Virginia has many children with special needs that are in need of a safe, loving home. Special needs children consist of those who are members of a sibling group who need to be placed together, children eight or older, members of a racial or ethnic minority of any age, and children with a physical, emotional, or mental disability.
West Virginia is fortunate to have caring families who open their hearts and homes to children in need. However, there is a great need for more dedicated individuals to help make a lasting difference in the lives of our children by becoming foster parents.
Foster parents come from all walks of life with a variety of professional, educational, and ethnic backgrounds. Potential foster parents may qualify if they are married or single, with or without children, work outside the home, 21 years of age or older, in good general health, and have a positive home study. They must complete PRIDE training. Through PRIDE training, potential foster parents learn about the types of children in need, the responsibilities of foster parenting, and how to help children deal with their unique situations.
Every child deserves a safe, loving home. You can make a difference; become a foster parent and help a child during a frightening and bewildering time. Please open your heart and open your home to these children. If you are interested in helping a child as a foster parent, please contact WVDHHR at 304-455-0920.