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"To celebrate Foster Care Month, each May we make an extra push to recruit foster families," said DCFS Secretary Suzy Sonnier. "Children do best in families. By having foster homes in all areas of the state, children in foster care can stay close to home and in the same school."
Foster care is a protective service intended to provide temporary/short-term care for children who must live apart from their parents because of child abuse, neglect or special family circumstances requiring the need for out-of-home care. The first goal of foster care is to reunite the child with his or her biological family; however, adoption of the child may be the outcome.
DCFS recruits year-round for foster families who can provide a loving home and care for a child or children. Children needing foster homes range from infants to teenagers, vary in race and religion and may have an emotional or physical illness, been neglected, abused or abandoned, or have experienced a breakdown in the family, or the death of a parent.
"DCFS is always looking for foster parents and there is especially a need for foster families that are willing and able to take larger sibling groups or children with special needs," said Sonnier.
Applicants who are interested in becoming a foster parent must be at least 21 years old, have sufficient income to meet their own basic needs and be in good physical, emotional and mental health. A foster parent can be single, married, divorced or widowed.
If you are interested in becoming a foster parent, the first step is to attend an orientation where information on the qualifications, the certification process and an overview of the agency is provided. Orientations sessions are held each month across the state.
Upcoming orientation sessions during May include:
Baton Rouge Region:
- East Baton Rouge Parish Office, 160 South Ardenwood, Baton Rouge on Wednesday, May 20 at 6 p.m.
- First Baptist Church Student Center, 4141 Pontchartrain Drive Room 150, Slidell on Tuesday, May 12 at 6 p.m.
- Lake Charles Regional Office, 1919 Kirkman Street, Lake Charles on Monday, May 11 at 6 p.m.
- Iberia Parish Office, 705 Bayard Street, New Iberia on Tuesday, May 12 at 10 a.m.
- Acadia Parish Office, 300 E. First Street, Crowley on Wednesday, May 20 at 10 a.m.
- Lafayette Regional Office, 825 Kaliste Saloom Road, Brandywine III Suite 150, Lafayette on Wednesday, May 20 at 6 p.m.
- Northeast Louisiana State Office Building, 24 Accent Drive Suite 106, Monroe on Thursday, May 21 at 11 a.m.
- Jefferson Parish Westbank Office, 2150 Westbank Expressway, 6th floor, Harvey on Tuesday, May 12 at 6 p.m.
- Shreveport Regional Office, 1525 Fairfield Avenue 9th floor, Shreveport on Tuesday, May 19 at 6 p.m.
- Terrebonne Parish Library, North Branch, 4130 W. Park Avenue, Gray on Tuesday, May 12, 2015 at 6 p.m.
To find out more about becoming a foster parent, visit www.dcfs.la.gov/foster and for the full 2015 orientation schedule, visit www.dcfs.la.gov/Orientation.