May is Foster Care Awareness Month; DCFS recruiting more caregivers

Special to the American Press

This Foster Care Awareness Month, the Department of Children and Family Services is asking Louisianans to be there for children by becoming a foster caregiver.

An average of 4,100 children are in foster care in Louisiana each day. With just 1,649 certified foster homes, there is an ongoing need for caregivers to be there for children who have experienced abuse or neglect.

“One of the reasons I took this job, and one of my highest priorities as secretary, is to ensure children in need have a safe, loving foster home, and that our foster caregivers are supported and appreciated,” said DCFS Secretary David Matlock. “We value every person who chooses to become a foster caregiver, because it truly takes all of us working together to achieve the best outcomes for the children we serve.”

Foster care serves children and their parents who must live apart because of child abuse, neglect or special family circumstances requiring the need for out-of-home care.

DCFS recruits year-round for foster caregivers who can provide a loving home and care for a child. Children in foster care range from infants to teenagers and may be part of a sibling group.

“We know that the idea of being a foster caregiver can seem overwhelming, but it is an incredibly rewarding experience for the whole family. You are never alone in the journey. Our foster care staff provide support and help you find resources to meet the needs of the child or children in your home,” said Amanda Brunson, DCFS Child Welfare assistant secretary. “Even if you’re not sure, I encourage anyone to take the first step and attend an orientation to find out if foster care is right for your family.”

Potential caregivers must be at least 21 years old, have sufficient income to meet their own needs, have enough space in their home to accommodate a child, pass state and federal criminal clearances, and be in good physical, emotional and mental health. Foster caregivers may be single, married, divorced or widowed.

If you are interested in becoming a foster caregiver, the first step is to attend an orientation where information is provided about the agency and the foster care program.

To find out more about becoming a foster caregiver or to sign up for an orientation, visit www.dcfs.louisiana.gov/page/be-there-foster.

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