Many will remember the image of Jonathan Jacob Corpuz, the little three year old abandoned in the toy aisle at a Salt Lake area store last January. This case caused phones to ring off the hook at the DCFS (Division of Child and Family Services) office in Salt Lake. It seems everyone wanted to take in Jacob.
Many people don't realize that there are children just like Jacob who need temporary homes in Carbon and Emery Counties. In fact, the situation has become so acute that the Utah Foster Care Foundation recently opened an office in Price.
"Basic Care" is where it all starts for a newly licensed foster parent (or parents).
Children in basic level care may be there for a variety of reasons including abuse and neglect. Some children have lost their parents.
"They are still just children; children with the same desires and dreams as any other child" says Greg Cowan of the Utah Foster Care Foundation. Families can become licensed to provide respite care only, providing relief for their friends or relatives while they take some "R & R" or in cases of family emergencies.
The Utah Foster Care Foundation is a private non-profit organization founded to find, educate and nurture families to prepare families for the care giving experience. The Foundation teaches a series of eight classes (four hours each) to prepare future foster parents. The classes are taught locally, free of charge, by invitation only. Even the most experienced parents find the classes worthwhile.
Foster parents may be working parents, and can choose the age and gender of the child. Medical and dental costs are covered through Medicaid and a monthly reimbursement for the cost-of-care is provided by the state.
The next article will talk about the DCFS goal of family reunification, successful outcomes and the role of the foster family in working with the biological parents. For more information about becoming a foster parent or volunteering your services, please contact Greg Cowan, Utah Foster Care Foundation, at 636-0210.