‘Dire need of foster families’

“Chaffee County is in dire need of foster families,” Keri Vignale, foster care/family engagement coordinator for Chaffee County Department of Human Services, said.

“We especially need families willing to foster older kids, above age 10, and sibling groups.”

Vignale encouraged anyone interested in becoming a foster parent to visit with her and learn about the process.

“This is a no-obligation meeting. I’m happy to meet and just discuss the process,” she said. “This is not for everyone. It’s sometimes difficult navigating through the paperwork and requirements. It’s my role to help families process through the system to ensure that they meet all the requirements and have the tools needed to successfully care for children.”

The goal is to work as a team. If the family/person decides fostering is not for them, there is no pressure to continue the process. It’s a choice.

There are a few limitations on who can be a foster parent. Everyone must pass a background check, complete training and receive a home study from Chaffee County Department of Human Services or a child placement agency.

The foster parent training and certification process prepare a person to care for and support a child or youth who has experienced trauma, grief and loss and with whom the foster parent has no history.

A complete guide for fostering in Chaffee County can be found at chaffeefostercare.org.

Chaffee County DHS is also hosting a free two-day class from 5 to 8 p.m. May 17 and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 18. Those who are interested can call Vignali at 719-530-2507 for information or to register.

Those taking the class will receive 12 educational credits toward a state foster parent certification.

“In Colorado, on an average day, 14 children and teens are placed in foster care because their parents need time to learn new skills to become the parents their children need them to be,” Vignali said.

“Today 2,231 children and teens are living with foster families in Colorado. With just over 2,000 certified foster homes, social services agencies are always in need of families willing to care for children. These families provide a safe, temporary home for children whose parents or caregivers are unable to care for them.”

When children or teens are removed from their home and a caseworker is unable to identify a family friend or relative to care for them temporarily, they are placed in foster care. It is important to remember that when a child or teen is removed from his/her home the primary goal is usually to return that child or teen to his/her parents or caregiver once the parent or caregiver can provide a safe and stable home.

However, if that option is not available, adoption or another type of permanent home is the secondary goal.

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