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May is Foster Parenting Awareness Month
The Human Services Agency of Ventura County (HSA), which coordinates the foster child program in the county, will be highlighting the urgent need for foster parents for teens, siblings and children with special needs during May.
Currently, some 240 foster families, 70 Foster Family Agency homes, and 170 relative caregivers provide a safe, secure and supporting environment for more than 800 foster care children in Ventura County.
"The need for couples and individuals to open their doors and hearts to foster kids is ever present," says Judy Webber, deputy director for the county’s foster care program. "Our most pressing need is to find foster parents who will take in teens. Many older kids have lived in numerous family settings during their young lives. When they must exit foster care their foster parents are typically the only adults who have given them the hope, understanding and guidance needed to achieve their dreams."
Another focus of HSA is to place siblings in the same foster household. "Siblings should not have to face living apart," says Elaine Martinez, senior program manager. "Foster parents who can welcome siblings into their home can ensure that the sibling family bond remains strong despite the circumstances."
The average stay in foster care is about 10 months in Ventura County. Youth range in age from newborn to 20. Foster parent training is required, with additional training needed for foster parents accepting special needs kids. Foster parents receive regular payments to feed and clothe children in their care. Medical and dental coverage is provided.
To find out more about becoming a foster parent, call 805-654-3456, go to http://www.vchsa.org/
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The County of Ventura Human Services Agency provides public services that promote self-sufficiency, health and well-being.