SAFY of Canton/ Akron has seen an increase in the number of referrals over the past few months and urgently needs foster parents. For instance, in August alone, the Canton/ Akron Division received referrals for 86 youth! The primary need for youth within the Akron Canton area is for teens, sibling groups of mixed races and genders, and medically fragile children.
My grandmother took the call to foster parenting and fostered hundreds of children over 30 years! If you feel like you have space in your heart and home, read on!
Within the Akron Canton community, there is an increased in mental health needs with limited resources available due to lack of staff to serve the needs. The greatest need for foster parents are for those that are willing to open their hearts and homes to these youth. The youth that are referred to the Canton/ Akron Division tend to have a level of needs from mental health, behavioral and medical. Since SAFY is aware of these needs, our Case Coordinators are able to work hand in hand with our foster parents and youth in order to provide a higher level of service to the families.
Although reunification can be a time of uncertainty for foster parents, they have the opportunity to play a huge part in the process to make reunification seamless. By participating in the process, it allows the foster parents to have open communication with the biological parents and continue to be a resource the family as a whole. When you become a foster parent with SAFY of Canton/ Akron you become a part of a team of individuals who work together to increase the well-being of youth in the community.
I was able to ask a few interview questions for those of us that fostering is new to us.
If a person is considering foster parenting, what are the first steps? How soon would they be eligible to be a foster parent?
It’s simple, the first steps would be to contact our office at (330) 305- 1668 or complete the form at https://www.safy.org/become-a-foster-parent/ to be contacted. Those interested will need to complete an informational session to learn the process and have their questioned answered. That takes approximately 30-45 mins. These information sessions can be in person, virtually or by phone, whatever the individual is comfortable with. The next step is for the interested potential foster parents to sign up for the foster parent trainings. Since trainings are now being held virtually, we can connect them to the next class available.
What is the average length of time foster parents have foster children?
This depends on the child(ren)’s case as it varies since many factors are involved. However, typically it is at least 1 year that a youth experiencing foster care is placed with a foster family (of course this could be more or less).
Are there any general requirements for people that want to become foster parents?
The general requirements are in the state of Ohio, 18 years of age, an income, a stable residence, and no major criminal background.
To be a foster parent with SAFY, it doesn’t matter if you are married, single, in a relationship. We welcome foster parents of all genders, nationalities, home owner or rent a home, etc. The most important quality for foster parents is they have a heart for children and are willing to provide a safe, stable, and loving home from children. If that is you, we’d love to speak with you!
If people are not able to be a foster parent, are there other ways they can help?
We understand not everyone is able to be a foster parent, but we believe everyone can do something to help change the life of a child. We’d love for people in the community to “like” our Facebook page (SAFY of Canton/ Akron) and share the information. If you are involved in a church or community organization, allow us to come speak to provide information and help spread the word about the need for foster families. Let us know of any community events that we can participate in. Allow us to place a sign in your yard or your business. We are always looking for donations of gift cards – these are helpful for our foster parents when the kids are placed and do not have clothing, to give to the youth for their birthdays, or Christmas, and for us to provide as a “thank you” to our foster parents for all they do. You can learn more about ways to support SAFY at www.safy.org.