With National Adoption Month winding down and the Christmas season just beginning, social workers in northwest Ohio are hoping more families might consider opening their arms to a child who needs their love.
There are more than 400,000 children in foster care in the U.S., including around 10,000 in Ohio. But, according to adoptuskids.org, more than 2,600 children in Ohio are waiting to be adopted.
The need for foster parents is felt locally, said Mindy Reynolds, who took over as Williams County Job and Family Services’ foster care recruiter earlier this fall.
Reynolds is also the liaison for the recently formed Northwest Ohio Foster Care Collaborative — a group of six counties that have banded together to assist each other in recruiting foster parents. The collaborative also includes Hancock, Van Wert, Hardin, Henry and Auglaize counties.
“In our county we have around seven” children in need of foster care placement, Reynolds said. “In some of the bigger counties it’s 30 or more.”
She said that virtually “anyone can be a foster parent,” as long as they’re 18 years or older, pass a background check and take a class.
She also stressed that children are never “forced onto” a foster parent, but agencies instead work to match kids with a parent who’s the best fit. “You get to kind of pick and choose,” she said, though she said social workers try as often as possible to keep siblings together.
For those who are interested in caring for a child in need but are unable to dedicate themselves to full-time parenthood, Reynolds said JFS certainly welcomes those who can provide temporary or “respite” care.
For more information about foster care and adoption in Ohio, visit adoptuskids.org/adoption-and-foster-care/how-to-adopt-and-foster/state-information/ohio.