Foster care licensing information available at meeting

Among the many challenges before the Washington County Community Services Department is the need for more foster parents, according to department director Dan Papin.

“We could really use some help with foster care,” he told the Board of Commissioners Tuesday.

In fact, Papin asked commissioners for help recruiting families interested in becoming foster care providers.

The county offers several foster care options. Residents interested in the foster care program must attend an informational meeting that provides a program overview. The county’s licensing process begins free for those who decide to provide foster care.

The next informational meeting is 6 to 8 p.m. Sept. 10, at the county Government Center in Stillwater in Room Lower Level 16. The next meeting is Nov. 5.

n For children, families are needed to open their homes to school-age children needing a temporary place to live. Placements vary in length. Foster providers become part of the agency team that works closely to meet the child’s needs and with the child’s parents toward the goal of reuniting the family or finding permanency for the child.

n For teenagers, there is a great need for caring and supportive foster parents who will open their homes to teenagers. Foster providers gain new skills in relating to people as they nurture teenagers, enhance teen’s self-esteem and help them become more independent. Parenting a teen is challenging, but many rewards await one — most importantly, the satisfaction of knowing you made a difference in someone’s life.

n The respite program gives a family a needed break by caring for children and teenagers with or without disabilities for a few days or a weekend. This type of care is scheduled on a regular basis and can take as little as one weekend a month.

For additional information or questions regarding child foster care licensing, call 651-430-6455 and ask for a child foster care licensor.

In addition to meeting state licensing requirements, foster families should be able to provide a stable family atmosphere (can be a one- or two-parent home); positive attitude; adequate housing, whether a house or apartment, and love and support for the children or adults in their care.

Before families can be licensed, they must undergo a thorough screening process which includes an extensive background check.

For additional information, questions, or to RSVP in case of cancellation, regarding adult foster care informational meetings, call 651-430-6455. The Washington County Government Center is at 14949 62nd St. N., Stillwater.