Foster caring

Thursday, December 22, 2005

When children who wind up in situations where living at home with parents -- or even one parent -- is out of the question, they often find themselves in foster homes.

While most foster-care situations begin with adults and children who are complete strangers, strong bonds often are formed, and when temporary custody comes to an end, the result can be an aching heart. Experienced foster parents say the fulfillment of proving a good home to children in need helps salve the hurt.

It takes special individuals to be foster parents. In Missouri, prospective foster parents must receive special training, and foster homes must be licensed. There is, by far, much more demand for qualified foster care than there is supply.

The next nine-week class on foster parenting will begin in March. Approximately 40 people have indicated an interest in providing foster care, but the attrition rate is high.

Anyone interested in learning more about foster care should contact the Children's Division in the Department of Social Services (573) 751-4815. In the 32nd Judicial Circuit -- Cape Girardeau, Bollinger and Perry counties -- the contact number is (573) 290-5800.

The gift of guidance and love is crucial for all children, but particularly for those who have experienced the worst of home life.

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