The month of May is known for many celebrations like Mother’s day or graduation, but did you know that May is also the month of foster care awareness? In Liberty and Long County there are more than 500 children in foster care. Liberty and Long County Adoptive and Foster Parent Association reached out to the Courier to spread the word about the organization.
Suerena Duvall and Deloris Adams are president and vice president of the association and are themselves foster and adoptive parents.
What led the both of them to volunteer for this organization is their genuine love and empathy for children, they said.
Duvall said that when her birth son was about to graduate from high school she and her husband decided to open up their home to kids because they had space in their home and in their hearts.
Adams mentioned she has always been a nurturer by nature. Although she was never in foster care she grew up in an environment that scarred her for life. Fortunately, her stepfather was a compassionate man that gave her unconditional love. She is now following the example that her stepfather modeled to her as loving the less fortunate.
The association works in partnership with the local Division of Family and Children Services agency. If you were to ask what they do, Duvall said it best, “They provide children with the opportunity to live in a structured, family like environment so that when they return home they have tools of their own to help them cope and understand. For those in foster care we become the safe bridge until they are ready to return to family”.
If interested in becoming a foster parent call the DFCS foster parent information line at 1-877-210-KIDS. A DFCS employee can offer more information such as when and where the orientations and training will be held.
The training of a foster parent to be is called Impact Training. It starts with an in-person orientation that is two hours long. There are also 20 training modules that are conducted online. Also, you must have a home that is state approved to house children and pass a background check. Overall, the best requirement for becoming a foster parent, says Duvall, is your sincere love for kids and families.
Duvall believes that if a foster family works with a case plan eventually the child or children will be able to return to their family. When asked what motivates her to encourage others to be foster parents, Adams said, “My motivation is knowing that there are other young people who need what I received and was given so freely. There are so many children who need us, whether they believe they do or not. We can have an awesome impact on these children, helping them to succeed and become the adults they all want to be.”