Family Education Center hosts foster parent information meeting
Marlinton, W.Va. –
West Virginia has experienced rising incidents of child abuse and neglect, growing numbers of adjudicated delinquents, and increases in the number of children who are mentally or physically disabled. These factors have caused a corresponding increase in the number of children removed from their homes and placed into foster care. All children who enter foster care are entitled by law to have a safe, permanent living situation that promotes their safety and well-being.
Marion Wright, program director with the Family Outreach and Education Center in Marlinton, talks about an educational meeting this Saturday on foster care.
“This weekend, on Saturday, January 26, we are having a foster care recruitment event at the Family Center here in Marlinton,” she said. “It will be at noon. The purpose of the event is to get the word out about foster parenting in Pocahontas County. We have only a very small number of active, current foster parents and we really need more. We want to keep the kids in the county, so that when they do have to go to foster care, they can be in a stable environment and stay in their same school system.
“If we don’t have a foster home, these kids do not get to stay in the county and sometimes, they don’t even get to stay in the state. Right now, children from Pocahontas County can be taken all across West Virginia and therefore, they’re being taken away from their friends, their other family members and their schools. But, if we have more foster parents in the county, then they can stay in the county and stay with their friends and their schools.”
Wright describes why foster care is necessary.
“Unfortunately, sometimes, parents do need help and kids do need to go into foster care to be in a stable environment while their parents get the help that they do need, and that is what foster care is here for. It can be temporary, but, you know, a lot of our foster parents do end up going on to adoption, if they choose to, or they’ll do both. Some people adopt and continue on fostering. But many people will be foster parents for years.”
The director invites all those interested – not just prospective foster parents – to attend the meeting.
“We’re really looking for different groups to come down here,” she said. “We want people who have had any interest in foster parenting – we want them to come down and learn how – learn what the classes are like that they have to take – learn what the steps are to become a foster parent. But we also want people who are just interested in the state of foster parenting in Pocahontas County to come.
“Any individual, really, any adult that has any interest in foster parenting should come talk to us. And it’s not a commitment. Just come and learn about what’s going on and maybe, if you’re not ready now, you can learn, so that in the future, if you decide to become a foster parent, you’ll already have the information you need.”
A local man will describe his personal experience.
“We also have an individual coming who is a foster father in this community right now. And he’s going to be speaking about his experience with foster care and how it’s changed his life and how he is changing the lives of the kids who he is fostering. We really want to get that personal touch out there and everybody be able to meet and greet with this man and talk about foster care and his real-life experience. Not just the stories you hear on the news, but what he is really doing in Pocahontas County in foster care.”
The foster care educational meeting will be held this Saturday at noon at the Family Outreach and Education Center, across from the Opera House in Marlinton.