Prospective foster parents met at the South Dade Regional Library on Tuesday evening to talk to experts from Our Kids of Miami-Dade/Monroe about how to get involved.
A number of current foster parents also showed up, saying they were looking for a refresher.
Shamar Turner, a social worker and manager at Our Kids, led the orientation.
“We are looking for families who are looking to actually foster,” she said.
Fostering a child, Turner said, is more difficult than one would expect. One becomes close to the child, caring for them for sometimes years before eventually seeing them reunite with their biological families or go to permanent adopted parents.
Many times, children get into foster care due to the courts. The biological parent then gets a case plan from the courts. This could include a requirement to stop abusing drugs or obtain a job. If the parent completes the case plan, a judge then decides whether to reunite the child with their biological parent. If the parent does not complete the case plan, the child will go into adoption.
Nadine Rolle, a recruiter at Our Kids, has worked with foster children for 20 years. She has both fostered children as well as adopted.
“We are trying to build up the population for foster parents in this area,” she said. “What we are trying to do is to make this stay normal, so if a kid is removed from [the Goulds neighborhood] we have a foster parent in Goulds.”
The goal is to have as little to nothing change for the child, Rolle said. It is beneficial for the child if they can attend the same school, church and functions as they would with their biological parent.
About a dozen people came to the event.
Maggie Smith, a resident of South Miami Heights, said she was particularly interested in the plight of recent arrivals to this country.
“I know that there are a lot of children that need care and love,” she said. “I was thinking about all these children that are immigrants and they also need the same thing.”
For more information on how to become involved in fostering a child call (855) 786-5437, or visit www.fosteringourkids.org.