Huntsville service organization says more foster parents needed in the Valley

WAFF 48's Jasmyn Cornell reporting
Published: Apr. 11, 2022 at 5:50 AM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Approximately 6,000 children are in the state’s foster care system, according to the Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR).

Some children need foster care for a matter of days, and others may need it until they can be reunited with their biological family or a plan is made for them to be adopted, said the Department.

Specialized Alternatives for Families and Youth (SAFY), a local foster care service organization in Huntsville, says they are searching for foster care parents. According to SAFY, there are approximately 30 kids are at their location.

Whitney Davis, a foster parent recruiter with SAFY, says most children come to their facility because they have been abused in their home.

“The children that we have gotten may have gone through some very, very bad situations....maybe they have been deprived of food, you know, maybe they have experienced some type of drug-related issue,” Davis said.

According to Davis, the pandemic has created new challenges in the foster care system and exacerbated old ones. There have been delays in placements and adoptions, and some older children have been forced out of the system.

The organization is needing parents to partner with them, take care of the kids under their care, especially the teens, and help to improve their overall well-being.

“We partner with [the foster] parent to help [children] have a more normal life,” said Davis.

Davis says respite services are available for eligible adults, who are unable to take care of a child full-time. Respite care includes providing temporary assistance to foster parents and related caregivers, according to DHR. Respite care parents assist in the retention of foster homes, said the Department.

According to DHR, you could be a foster parent if you are at least 19 years of age, you can provide a safe, comfortable atmosphere for the child, and your home conforms to the state’s “Minimum Standards for Foster Family Homes.” For a full list of requirements, visit the agency’s website.

If you are interested in becoming a foster parent in the Valley, visit SAFY’s website and Facebook.

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