May is celebrated as “National Foster Care Month” and a spokesperson for an Iowa organization says there are many people involved. Amy Juhnke of Iowa KidsNet says the recognition goes beyond the foster and adoptive families. Juhnke says it also includes all the people who work in child welfare across the state and nation, and those in the court system that help families and children to heal and move on.
Juhnke says they are always looking for more families to take part. “We have a great need specifically for more family foster homes for teens, sibling groups of three or more, African American families, Native American families and Latino families,” Juhnke says. She says they do targeted recruitment to try and find the families that fit those needs. Juhnke says anyone can be a foster parent.
She says there isn’t a “typical foster family” as every child has a perfect match and each is different. Juhnke says all you need is “room in your home and room in your heart” to help the kids. You can find out more by calling 1-800-243-0756, or by going on-line at:www.iowakidsnet.com. Juhnke says once you contact them, they will help you find out more information.
Juhnke says there are information session across the state every month which are about an hour to an hour-and-a-half. You will learn about foster kids and they will walk you through the process. Juhnke says those who decide to become foster parents aren’t left on their own.
The help includes support in a paymentfrom the state. She says the payment covers about 65% of the cost of having a child in your home. Juhnke says they also have support specialists that are tied to the family and they can help with anything from needs in the middle of the night, to the best approach to visiting with the biological parents.
There are also support groups across the state. Iowa KidsNet is a partnership of six Iowa social service agencies, including Four Oaks, Boys and Girls Home and Family Services, Children’s Square U.S.A./Child Connect, Family Resources, Lutheran Services in Iowa and Quakerdale.