More foster homes needed, orientation set to provide information

Published 7:00 am Thursday, March 28, 2019

Within the state of Mississippi, there’s a shortage of foster homes for children dealing with abuse or neglect.

To fill that need, an orientation meeting will be held in Poplarville Monday evening by an organization known as Rescue 100. Rescue 100 is a faith-based program that works directly with Mississippi Child Protective Services to seek out and recruit homes and families that can act as foster homes.

In January of this year, there were 127 Pearl River County children in foster care; by the first of March the number dropped to 107, said Sabrea Smith, Director of Rescue 100.

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Smith added that on average, counties that surround Pearl River typically have more children in foster care.

Within this county, there are currently 33 foster homes where the child is staying with a relative. There are currently 20 non-relative homes, Smith said.

Most of the time, children are placed into foster care when evidence of physical or sexual abuse and/or neglect is found.

Smith said that when foster care is deemed necessary, CPS looks for available homes within the child’s home county to keep them close to friends and family. If there are no available homes, only then will the child be sent to a neighboring county. In rare instances when a foster home can’t be found, the child may be sent to a temporary shelter. Smith said that only happens in emergencies.

In order to serve as a foster home, the family will need to be licensed by CPS. Monday’s orientation will provide details on how to become licensed and other information.

It will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. on April 1, at First United Methodist Church in Poplarville, located at 202 W. Church St.

Families who serve as a foster home for a child receive a stipend to provide for that child’s care based on each child’s age and individual needs, Smith said.

Some of the qualifications to be a foster family include being 21 or older, a legal resident of Mississippi, financially self sufficient and legally married or single. The qualification process also requires a home study to assess the function of the family to determine if they are prepared to care for a child who is dealing with a traumatic event, Smith said.

“If people have a heart and passion for it, I think they should apply and see what can happen,” Smith said.