Officials with Iowa’s foster care program are putting out the call for more parents to consider taking on the challenge. Amy Juhnke is spokeswoman for Iowa KidsNet which recruits, trains, licenses and supports Iowa’s foster and adoptive parents.
“At the end of December, there were over 6,300 children in foster care,” Juhnke says. “We have a little over 2,300 foster families in Iowa, so, absolutely, we need more.” She says many foster children experienced abuse, abandonment or neglect and their families cannot provide them with a safe, nurturing home.
The foster care system makes sure these kids are safely cared for until they can either return home to their families or find a new permanent home through adoption. Juhnke is appealing to all sorts of Iowans who would be interested in accepting the responsibility and the rewards of foster parenting.
“We need more minority families, Latino, African-American, Native American,” Juhnke says. “We need more families that can take teens. We need more families that can take sibling groups of three or more so that the kids can stay with their siblings and they don’t have to be separated during that traumatic time.” Juhnke says being a part of a foster family can be challenging, but it also brings many gifts.
“I’ve heard from several families about how much their own children, their birth children have learned from the kids that have stayed with them,” Juhnke says. “They learn so much about compassion, humankind and how valuable things are and what’s really important in life.” Learn more about becoming a foster parent at: “www.iowakidsnet.com”
By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City