WILMINGTON — There currently are 60 children in the custody of Clinton County Job and Family Services, whereas the agency has 31 active foster homes.
Those numbers show a need for more foster parents, said foster care and adoption unit staffers when they met Monday with Clinton County commissioners.
Commissioners proclaimed May as Foster Care Recognition Month during the meeting appointment.
“Sixty children really can’t reside in 31 families very easily,” said Supervisor Cindy Ricketts.
She added they are constantly looking for families willing to take on children of various ages, “from infancy to 18.”
Staffer Lisa Massie said the local foster families range across “all sorts of demographics.” Many of the foster families, she said, live in Clinton County, but there also are ones that reside in adjoining Highland, Fayette, Warren, Brown and Greene counties.
Clinton County Job and Family Services Director Kathi Spirk said those at the agency are always in the position where they could use more foster homes. The goal is to try to place most of the children in Clinton County if possible, where they will be more familiar with schools, neighborhoods and the people.
However, some children with greater needs would need to be placed out of county because of their particular needs, said Spirk.
Presently, there are four families going through the required training process to become foster families.
Massie described the local foster parents as very nurturing, and as down-to-earth, stable people who take their role very seriously and for whom foster parenting “is their calling.”
Without the local foster parents’ hard work and commitment, some of the local children who need to be temporarily placed in out-of-home care probably would end up living in areas of Ohio further away, according to Massie.
Clinton County Job and Family Services Deputy Director Gina Eshler said foster parents also serve as advocates for the children with the agency and schools.
A lot of the children have experienced trauma, she said.
It takes about nine months to license a family to serve as a foster family, said Massie. Last year, about eight families were licensed locally.
Training will be available in August.
Clinton County Commissioner President Mike Curry praised local foster parents, remarking that “opening their homes and providing care for those kids is amazing.”
If interested in either foster care or in adopting, please call 937-382-5935 and ask for the foster care and adoption unit where you can learn more by speaking with either the supervisor or a worker.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768 or on Twitter @GHuffenberger.