It's in the Love, not the Blood: How Many Did You Say?
My phone rang last Tuesday morning at 2:30 a.m. When I glanced to see who it was, I was surprised to see that it was one of the social workers I know, who works with foster parents. In my sleepy fog, I thought to myself, why is she calling us? We are a closed home.
So I answered the phone and after she apologized for waking me up, she let me know that the Cabinet had taken 19 children into custody and they needed a place large enough to hold everyone until the foster parents could arrive to pick the children up. At first, I thought I misunderstood her, so I asked her, “Did you say 19 kids?” “Yes.” she said in a voice that told me she couldn’t believe it either. My first thought was where would they all go? Do we even have enough homes for everyone?
Even though it took the workers many hours, every child was placed into care. The social workers, law officials and foster families, who gave up their night of rest to take care of these children, should be commended and not criticized. Unless you are familiar with the world of social work (and law enforcement for that matter), you have no idea some of the dangerous situations or horrendous living conditions they must remove children from. And if you think that what they see or hear everyday doesn’t affect them, you are sadly mistaken.
The one thing that has struck me as odd is that out of all the phone calls I received last week regarding the welfare of these children, not a single one of them were from local residents. I spoke with one lady who lived in Colorado wanting to know what she could do to help. Someone who is 1,272.9 miles, 20 hours and 39 minutes away called to help these children, but no one in our own city called to see if they could help. Maybe folks around here are in shock and are having a hard time grasping that something like this could happen here. The sad reality is that local children are removed from their homes everyday due to abuse and neglect.
Now more than ever, more foster families are needed in Warren County and in the nine surrounding counties. To qualify as a foster and/or adoptive family in the state of Kentucky, you must:
Complete 11 weeks of MAPP classes (Model Approach to Partnership for Parenting), the classes are designed to help the foster/adoptive parents to have a better understanding of the situations these children are coming from.
Must be 21 years of age, can be single, married, widowed or divorced; The cabinet does not discriminate because of race, religion, creed, sex, sexual preferences, age, national origin, handicap, political affiliation or marital status.
You can rent or own your home.
You agree to a physical exam that states you are in good physical and mental health. Chronic conditions, such as diabetes, etc. are not a disqualification.
That you are currently able to meet the financial needs of your family.
3 personal and 2 credit reference checks (which will verify that you are financially stable not looking to see if your credit is good).
Agree to criminal records checks, which will include the Central and Neglect Register and Kentucky State Police Records. Felony charges are an automatic disqualification.
Be willing to accept children that have been sexually, emotionally and physically abused or neglected.
If you have ever entertained, the idea of becoming a foster and/or adoptive family now is the time. Everyday a child is removed from their home and their world is shattered. You can be the one that helps to put the pieces back together.
C. Denise Lambrianou is the Program Coordinator for Family Enrichment Center-Adoption Resource Program, which is funded in part by a grant from the Cabinet of Health and Family Services, Department of Protection and Permanency and Wendy’s of Bowling Green. If you would like information about becoming a foster or adoptive family, or you would like to inquire about a featured child, please call (270) 781-6714 x 3 or (866) 842-9032 x 3.