PIQUA — Community members considering becoming foster parents have been able to gain insights into the “day-in-the-life” of a foster family through the “Open Forum on Fostering” events in the region.
On April 5, from 6 to 7 p.m., an Open Forum on Fostering will be at the Piqua Miami County YMCA, 223 W. High St., Piqua.
The event includes free childcare for children 3 to 10 with a reservation. There will be a drawing for a $50 Kroger gift card, and light refreshments will be served.
The open forums are presented by Isaiah’s Place Therapeutic Foster Care agency as a way for community members to explore options for helping with the current foster care crisis.
“We are seeing increased interest in fostering as people hear more about the effects of the opioid epidemic, and as the community at large becomes more aware of the need for foster parents,” said Shelly Calvert, director of business development for Isaiah’s Place and coordinator of the forums.
“We always tell people a conversation is not a commitment. We want people to feel comfortable coming to the forums without feeling pressured,” Calvert said. “Sometimes people want to help with needs in the foster care community, but they aren’t necessarily able or ready to become a foster parent. Some people have thought about foster parenting, but just aren’t sure how to distinguish facts from myths. There are many ways to help the foster care community. Having an open forum with a casual format allows for a flow of information.”
Last year, 437,465 children were in foster care in the United States, according to statistics reported from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families. In Ohio, more than 14,000 children were in foster care. In counties all across Ohio, there are more children who need homes than there are foster homes.
“Many people are curious about helping with the current foster care crisis, but they are not sure of the licensing process, they think something in their past may disqualify them from becoming foster parents or they think it’s just not for them,” said Molly Snow, licensing specialist for Isaiah’s Place. “We want to have an open conversation about what these kids need, what the compensation looks like and what it takes to become a foster parent, so they can make an informed decision.”
The format will be informal, and will include an introduction, followed by three professionals in the industry who will briefly discuss the common myths surrounding foster parenting, explain what it looks like to bring foster children into your home, share the compensation for fostering and explain the licensing process. The program will then turn to questions for the guest panel, so community members will be able to address their questions to the specialists.
The Piqua YMCA will allow children to play in their Child Watch room where staff members will be present.
To make a reservation for childcare, call 937-335-3701 one day prior to the event. To learn more about Isaiah’s Place and it’s programs, visit www.isaiahsplace.com.