November is National Adoption Month and the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) are working with local groups and individuals to address the growing need for foster homes and adoptive parents.
According to Adoptuskids.org there are approximately 4,000 children in foster care in Louisiana. DCFS Supervisor Stephanie Duplechain spoke about the great need for foster and adoptive parents in Louisiana.
“November is National Adoption Month, and we partner with local groups like CASA to spread awareness,” Duplechain said.
“We want to take this opportunity to get the word out and let people know that we need more foster homes and adoptive parents for children of all ages.”
Duplechain expressed that there is a great need for foster parents for children of all ages, especially for older children.
“Right now in Lake Charles, there are only five foster homes that will take teenagers. Once they reach capacity then the children will have to be sent outside of the region,” She said.
DCFS needs foster parents who are willing to take children of all ages and family groups as well. Duplechain noted that one of their goals is to help the children make an easy transition into foster care without any further stress.
“These kids in foster care have been taken from their home for one reason or another,” Duplechain said. “We want them to be able to stay in their same community, school, and especially with their own brothers and sisters. It makes a hard time for these kids a lot easier.”
One thing that keeps many people from becoming adoptive or foster parents is the thought that the process is too complicated. This is a common misconception that Duplechain would like to correct. She expressed that DCFS does everything they can to work with potential foster parents to assist them with training, education, and everything they would need to bring a child in need into their home.
“You are not alone when it comes to DCFS,” she said. “We will guide you step by step on the process.”
Jessica Cryar Walter with CASA of West CenLA stated that groups like CASA partner with DCFS to spread awareness about the positive impact that local foster parents have on a child’s life.
“The reason we get together is so we can get additional foster homes in the Beauregard and Vernon Parish Areas. It helps our advocates, and it is especially helpful for the children. They get to stay in their home community,” She said.
The stress of being taken from your home is traumatic, being put in a new home can be even more traumatic for a child.”
Adopt US Kids has listed the following requirements for becoming a licensed foster parent or adopting a child:
You must have adequate bedroom space for a child. A child may share a bedroom with another child of the same sex, but the child cannot share a bedroom with anyone over the age of 18 years old.
No foster/adoptive parent(s) shall have more than five children under the age of 18, including foster children and their own children; the total number of children shall not exceed five.
It is important that your home is safe and free of hazards. During the home study process, your home development worker will conduct a safety inspection of your home. You must have working smoke detectors and a fire extinguisher.
Being a parent can sometimes be demanding. You must be healthy and emotionally stable to care for children. Everyone in your home must provide a medical statement completed by a physician indicating they are free of communicable diseases (i.e., tuberculosis). If they are not free from a communicable disease, a physician must provide a statement stating that the patient is compliant with treatment.
If you have had a valid child protection case, you may not be able to become a foster or adoptive parent. We will review records in Louisiana, as well as any other state where you have resided.
You do not have to be rich to become a foster or adoptive parent, however, you must have enough income to meet your own family’s needs. During the home study process, you will be asked to provide proof of income and to review family expenses.
Foster or adoptive parents can be single, married, divorced or widowed.
If you or any adult residing in your home has been convicted of certain criminal offenses, you cannot become a foster or adoptive parent.
For more information about how to become a foster parent or to adopt a child contact DCFS. The Lake Charles DCFS Office can be reached at (888) 524-3578, and information can be found online at www.dcfs.louisiana.gov.