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One of the featured charities at this year's 'Woodstock Gives Back' assists kids and parents in the fostering process

ELIZABETH USSHER GROFF - On this years Woodstock Gives Back day, Liz Hauck and Magda Bejarano were on hand to alert neighbors to opportunities of becoming a resource [foster] parent or family.During the one-day "Woodstock Gives Back" merchant promotion on Sunday, September 19th – a day when local businesses partner with charity organizations – an information booth in front of "Cloud City Ice Cream" told neighbors about fostering and adoptive parenting opportunities.

And if you missed that booth at Woodstock Gives Back, and if you are curious about the subject, here's what we learned from Liz Hauck and Magda Bejarano, who were staffing the booth. They are Resource Family Retention and Recruitment Champions for the Department of Human Services, and they help identify families or individuals willing to be foster or adoptive parents.

Hauck told THE BEE why they'd come to Woodstock that day: "You can help children in your neighborhood by becoming a resource [foster] parent, so children can stay connected to their community. 'Resource family' and 'resource parents' are the new terms describing a foster family and foster parents.

"Child Welfare Director Rebecca Jones Gaston has released a 'Vision for Transformation'. Some highlights of the transformation document include the goal of preserving families, and keeping children in their homes as long as it is safe for them. When children can't remain at home, the first step is to seek placement with other relatives, or community members.

"We want to make sure children stay close to their community, their family, schools, friends, and their support networks," emphasized Hauck. "It gives local families the opportunity to help a school-aged child, or a teen, or young adult in their community."

Foster/resource parents can be of any race, culture, ethnicity, gender, religion, or sexual orientation. They may or may not already have children in the home, and do not necessarily need prior parenting experience. They can be renters or homeowners and work in the home, outside the home, or be retired.

However, foster/resource parents do need to be at least 21 years of age, and have a source of income to support themselves. Applicants will receive training from ODHS and will undergo a criminal history and child abuse background check, as well as interviews and home visits.

Resource parents are volunteers who receive a monthly check for each child's care expenses. The rate at which resource parents are reimbursed varies depending on each child's age and level of needs. Children's medical and dental costs are also covered by a state-funded health plan.

Bejarano remarked on the rewards of being a foster/resource parent: "By being a resource parent, you can make a significant impact in the life of a child, the [child's] family, and your community."

To learn more about opportunities to serve children who need supportive care, call 1-800/331-0503, or go online; a good place to start is –

http://www.oregon.gov/dhs/children/fostercare/Pages/index.aspx


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