DSS opens registration for foster parent training course

Published 9:38 am Monday, August 1, 2011

The Polk County Department of Social Services (DSS) is gearing up to host a 10-week round of foster parent training courses.
Social worker Jennifer Pittman said this fall’s MAPP (Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting) courses begin in September.
“Fostering a child is such a worthwhile thing to do and we just want to make sure we help equip prospective parents in the best way we can,” Pittman said.
DSS would like to have at least 10 individuals signed up for the course before getting started.
During the sessions, prospective foster parents take part in role playing, discussions and examples to help them comprehend situations from which these foster children might come.
Pittman said the courses are not about typical parenting skills. Instead, the courses focus on assisting parents in parenting kids who come from situations of abandonment or neglect, emotional abuse, physical abuse or even sexual abuse.
During the ninth meeting, a panel session will be hosted with current foster and adoptive parents. This allows new foster parents and guests to ask questions of those who have already been in their shoes.
The class will meet for three hours one night per week.
Pittman said signing up and taking the course does not mean a family must become a foster home. She said in fact, MAPP is intended to educate families on the responsibilities and benefits associated with fostering so that they can make an educated decision about whether or not they feel prepared to serve as a foster home.
Pittman said parents need not worry that this would be the only training they receive. Foster parents must go through 10 additional hours of training each year to maintain a license. Therefore, social workers within the system constantly work to make sure parents are well supported, Pittman said.
For more information on participating in the foster parent training course, call Pittman at 828-859-5825.
Basic requirements:
• If married, you must have been married for at least one year.
• All members of the family must agree to fostering.
• You must be at least 21 years old.
• Physical exams are required of family members every two years.
• You must have stable income.
• A foster parent must be willing to allow the child to pursue his or her religious beliefs.
• Both foster parents can be employed if suitable childcare arrangements have been made.
• Foster homes must be located in area with access to schools, doctors and churches.
• A local fire department official must inspect the home for safety.
• Social services will check into criminal history.
• Every foster parent must complete a 30-hour training course and 10 hours yearly.
Foster parents, if appropriate, will be considered for adoptive parents if the child in the home becomes available for adoption.

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