Lakeview has a large need for resource homes — formerly known as foster homes — according to Resource Parent Recruitment and Retention Champion Bridget King. Oregon has also proclaimed May as Foster Care Month.
A terminology change initiated by the Oregon Department of Human Services means people once called foster parents will now be known as resource parents or resource families.
According to the director of ODHS, "This change aligns with a core strategy in our Child Welfare Division Vision for Transformation; to ensure foster care is family based, time-limited, culturally responsive and designed to better stabilize families rather than just serving as a placement for children. It reinforces the concept of caregivers for children in foster care as a family-centered resource since the primary goal in Child Welfare is reunification, when possible."
In Lakeview especially, the need for resource parents is intense. If a child from Lakeview needed to be placed in a resource home currently, King said, they would have to go to either Klamath Falls or Christmas Valley, as there are no spots available in any Lakeview resource homes.
Lakeview currently has five resource homes; King said she would like to see five to six more in Lakeview proper in the next year. More homes will also boost morale for current resource families, she said, by showing them they have support.
"Our goal is to have more safe and affirming resource homes in the local area to help keep children connected to their community," King noted.
Fortunately, the process to become a resource parent is now streamlined thanks to an online platform. A person or couple interested in becoming a resource family would start by having with a conversation with King — called an inquiry — then those who wish to move forward will be assigned to a certifier who will provide them with an application and conduct a home study. During that process, the certifier learns about the applicant's home and parenting style.
A background check and fingerprinting are then conducted, and the applicant is also given the instructions on how to begin the training component online. Once the background check and training portions are completed, the person becomes a certified resource parent, King said.
On average, it takes two to three months for an applicant to go through the process, but now that it's online, that timeline is much more dependent on the person applying. If an applicant has lived outside Oregon in the past five years, it will take a bit more time as a second background check must be conducted.
Income, gender, nationality, religion and sexual orientation play no role in whether a person qualifies to be a resource parent. Single people can also be resource parents, King said.
"We try to screen in rather than screen out," she explained.
Call 800-331-0503 for more information or visit the Klamath/Lake Foster OR Adopt Facebook page at www.facebook.com/KlamathLakeFosterorAdopt.