Washoe County Looking For Foster Parents

By: James Steiner
By: James Steiner

Washoe County has dozens of children, who are need of a good home.
If you're interested in becoming a foster parent, there's no better time.

May is foster care month.

And, on Tuesday Washoe County will hold a orientation for prospective foster care parents. It's a five-step process.

For those wanting to take the first step, it's as easy as making a call.

When Cindy Johnson moved to Nevada eight years, she and her husband, Karl, made the life-changing decision to become foster parents. "It was easy to take one and then eight years later we have six," Johnson said. "We're hooked. Now being a family of ten right now."

Johnson has two biological children of her own.

Washoe County Department of Social Services allows families to have six foster kids at a time. Social workers look at the size of your home, if both parents work, and if they have transportation for the children.

"We do complete background checks, fingerprinting, check references. home and fire safety checks," said George Pelham, a Washoe County social worker.

All the steps taken are geared towards the safety of the child.

More than 200 families have so far made the choice to become foster parents. They're raising children, who have either been abused, neglected, or abandoned.

"In most situations drugs and alcohol are being used by the parents," said Pelham. "There's so kind of physical abuse or sexual abuse and the kids needs aren't being met. It's unsafe in that situation."

Foster parents say by creating a family situation, the hope someday is that these foster kids will be able to return to their natural born parents.

In the meantime, Johnson say her life is being enriched as well the lives of her own children. "The rewards are tremendous," she said. Watching the kids grow up. Nothing else more wonderful than that."

When the children leave their foster parents, you may wonder if they ever get to see them again.

Part of the program is constantly keeping the children in touch with their natura- born parents as well as their foster parents.

When the child's biological parent is ready to take their child back, social workers say the children ask to see their foster parents on a regular basis. So, the foster parents stays involved throughout the child's life.

If you want to become a foster parent, the county is holding an orientation meeting Tuesday night from 6 - 9 p.m.

You need to RSVP by that time at 337-4470.

Social workers will be handing out applications for prospective parents. They're looking for people who want to be foster parents for siblings, so they don't go to different homes.

It is for those who also want to adopt children.

Currently, there are 45 children in the emergency shelter who are in need of an adoptive home.


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