By Crystal Wylie
Register News Writer
MADISON COUNTY —
As of Friday, there are 199 children in Madison County who are under state care; 181 have been placed in a residential treatment facility or foster home, and the remaining 18 are on trial home visits, said Teresa Stewart, supervisor at the one of the local offices for the state Department of Community Based Services (Social Services).
“We’re always in need of foster homes in Madison County,” said Stewart, who has worked with the agency, which is part of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, for about nine years. “Sometimes we have no choice but to put kids in foster care, but our goal is to find the best match for foster parents and children, and for the children to eventually return home.”
Some foster parents take skills they have learned from classes and “just from being parents themselves” and help new foster parents learn to deal with children who have issues from neglect and abuse, she said.
“Some of the best (foster parents) I’ve ever seen are the ones who mentor and develop a relationship with the parents (who don’t have custody),” she said. “That way, if they do not get their child back, the child still doesn’t lose their parent.”
The state agency also is looking for people who may be willing to adopt if adoption became an option, Stewart said.
Homes that can take sibling groups and older children are needed too, said Kimberly Tandy, recruitment and certification worker with the foster-care team in Berea.
The next foster parent informational meeting is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. Jan. 8 at the CHFS Protection and Permanency office in Lexington at 1165 Centre Parkway, Ste. 180. This office houses the foster-care team and trainers for the southern Bluegrass region, said foster-care worker Renae Hardin.
Foster parenting classes will follow Jan. 15 through March 19 at the same location.
Classes in Madison County are scheduled in August and Clark County in February. Classes are scheduled all over the state through January 2014, Hardin said.
For details, contact the local Community Based Services offices at the Berea location (986-8411), one of the Richmond locations (623-1204) or the Lexington office (859-245-5488).
Crystal Wylie can be reached at cwylie@
or 623-1669, Ext. 6696.