Opinion

Learn to be a foster parent

For those of us who have ever wondered how we might contribute to the well-being of a child in foster care, an exceptional opportunity is at our doorsteps.

The Resource Family Training Institute will host a PRIDE training in Coupeville (Service Alternatives). PRIDE (pre-service training) is designed to provide support and training for prospective foster parents. The PRIDE series will begin on Thursday, Aug 21, from 5 to 9:30 p.m. and conclude on Sat. Sept. 6 for a total of 27 hours pre-service support. Rarely are PRIDE trainings offered on Whidbey Island. That is what makes this an exceptional opportunity!

Of course, not all of us can serve as full-time foster parents. However, there are many other ways that we can contribute:

Support full-time resource parents by providing occasional childcare.

Support children by providing temporary or emergency care.

Support safe, stable family reunification by serving as a supervisor to tend visitations between parents and child while dependency matters are being resolved.

Island County is well ahead of counties in this state in the number of relative-parents who provide full-time care for children. If this is your situation and you want to learn more about resources available to you, or if you are like me and just want to learn more about how to help in ways that match your lifestyle and availability, please join interested others in a Pre-Service orientation session Wednesday, July 30, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Skagit Valley College, Oak Hall Room 306. Orientation is the best way to determine ways in which you can help.

Registration for orientation or for PRIDE series is a necessary. To register contact Joan Sager or Sheri Rego at 1-800-398-4079 (regs300@dshs.wa.gov), or Dawn Johnson, Dept. Child & Family Services, Oak Harbor, at 1-800-743-0117 (joda300@dshs.wa.gov).

To exchange ideas on other ways you can directly contribute to the well-being of children in care, please contact Patti Carroll, Island County Stanwood Community Network, 360-331.5636 or agapeway@whidbey.com.

Currently, the majority of Island County’s foster parents reside in Oak Harbor, leaving no doubt that North Whidbey is a compassionate and responsive community. Please consider taking advantage of this exceptional opportunity. Change a lifetime for youth in-care!

Patti Carroll represents the Island County – Stanwood Community Network.

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