Foster Parents needed in Kenosha County

Throughout the nation, there are many children in need of homes on a long-term basis. For that reason, in Kenosha County, as everywhere, many organizations are seeking foster care parents. According to Jessica Marie Scheeler, Community Impact Programs Foster Parent Trainer and Recruiter, there are 95 general foster homes in the county and 115 children living in them.

“As an agency, the greatest need is for homes that are willing to take sibling sets,” she said. “ There have been so many sibling sets coming through the foster care system lately, our current foster homes are being pushed to their limits. We never want to have to break up sibling sets because the bond between siblings is something that is stabilizing in their lives during the crisis situation.”

Foster children range in age from birth on up, but most children are ten and older. Due to the stigma attached, older children are harder to place in homes because many believe that they will have greater behavior problems. Those fears are unfounded, insist Scheeler, who admits that all children can present behavioral problems, whether they are in foster care or living with biological parents.

“That being said, it is important to note that potential foster parents can expect an adjustment period, as the child or children adapt to the new home and surroundings,” she said.

Children may stay in a foster home for weeks or years, but they need the reassurance of a stable, nurturing environment. This requires commitment, flexibility and unwavering love on the part of foster parents. For those that foster, the reward is great.

“Most people foster because they feel a need to help their community and to help children,” Scheeler said. “Foster parents can have a feeling of accomplishment knowing that their life experiences are valuable tools to assisting children in learning valuable life skills.”

It is not difficult to become a foster parent; but takes a time and patience to fill out the paperwork and attend training sessions. To become a foster parent in Kenosha County, the applicant must be at least 21 years old, a resident of the county and have the emotional and physical means to provide support.

After the initial inquiry, the licensor will contact the applicant to set up a home visit to go over rules and regulations, and provide support by answering questions. When paperwork and home visits are completed, a home study will be written and submitted to Kenosha County Division of Children and Family Services for approval on a license.

“It can take between 30-60 days for the process to be completed and the home to be license,” said Scheeler. “Potential foster parents and anyone in the home ten years of age and older will have to agree to (a series of) extensive background checks. One the parent is licensed; they can accept and refuse placements without consequence to their license. As the foster parent, you have complete control as to who comes into your home.”

For more information on becoming a foster parent, call 262-656-8420.



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