As everyone knows, in late August Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast Region of the United States, leaving many parts of Louisiana, including the entire city of New Orleans; parts of Mississippi, and Alabama devastated. For most, the rebuilding of homes, businesses and “normal life” is still a distant dream. Many good people of the US and other countries are now turning their attention to how to help those suffering, especially the youngest victims of the storm - the children.
Although many news outlets, including major TV stations and popular magazines, have reported on the separation of families, including young children from their parents, the truth is that this situation has been widely sensationalized. Relief agencies and fostercare organizations in all three states have personally assured me (Martha Osborne, Editor of RainbowKids.com and resident of New Orleans) that extremely few children have failed to be reunited with their families or a close relative. Those few that remain separated are with experienced foster families and are receiving the support and counseling that they need until they are reunited. It is imperative that the readers of this publication realize that there will be almost no orphans created by this disaster.
Over 200 individuals have contacted RainbowKids.com asking to be put on a waiting list to adopt a “Katrina Orphan”. It is wonderful that so many people are willing to open their hearts. I urge each person who sees the suffering and heartache of those who are weathering this disaster, and who has the desire to help, to contact your local Department of Social Services and find out how you might become a foster or adoptive parent in your own community. Every state has children who are desperately in need of a safe and loving home.
How to Become a Licensed Foster Care Provider
• 1. Call your local Department of Social Services and learn the requirements for foster parents within your home state.
• 2. Begin any required fostering classes immediately. These may take several weeks to complete, but offer a wealth of information regarding caring for children who have lived through traumatic experiences.
• 3. Find out what the requirements are for your home and begin making needed repairs or upgrades. Some may be little changes; like buying a fire extinguisher for the kitchen, to larger jobs like installing a railing for your basement stairs.
• 4. Many states require health assessments so begin scheduling doctor appointments.
Remember that your home state is always in need of foster families as many wait in group homes for a family.
Part One of Two
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Practical tips for new adoptive parents
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