Foster parents needed in county

Published 7:00 pm Friday, February 15, 2019

The Chambers County Department of Human Resources has put a focus on recruiting foster parents during the month of February.

Chambers County DHR currently has around 30 foster homes and about 70 children in foster care, according to Layla Letson, resource development supervisor at Chambers County DHR.

“We have higher numbers than we’ve ever had before and trying to find homes to accommodate the number of children is difficult at times,” Letson said. “There are only so many kids that can be in a foster home, and people that come in may only have room for one or two kids.”

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Letson said there were 19 children in foster care when she first started with the DHR office nine years ago. Since then, they’ve seen as many as 96. At Christmas, there were 82, but since then several children have gone back home or been adopted, Letson said.

“For a county our size, that’s a lot of kids in care,” she said. “We’ve had situations where we’ve picked up 15 kids in a week, within three days.”

Letson said occasionally a local child will have to be placed outside of Chambers County, but that’s usually because of specific behavioral needs.

“It doesn’t happen as much here as it happens in other counties. We have very good foster homes that are willing to make room if necessary sometimes,” Letson said. “What we find when we have to place kids out of the county is they have behavioral needs that our foster parents aren’t able to manage.”

To be a foster parent, a person must be at least 19 years old, be able to provide a safe, comfortable atmosphere for the child, have a home that conforms to Alabama minimum standards for foster family homes, be in good health and be willing to go through a background check.

“The main requirement we look for is your ability and desire to do it,” Letson said. “If you have those two things, we can help provide you with the training that you need.”

Each foster parent must go through a 30-hour preparation course. Letson said they work to try to match up parents and children to make sure the match is a good fit.

“We get to know you through the process, so we are trying to match a child with what you can offer,” she said. “When we have kids that come in, we go through the foster parents we have available and try to match them the best we can.”

For more on how to become a foster parent, call the Chambers County DHR office at (334) 864-4000.