FOX5 EXCLUSIVE: An inside look at the process of becoming a foster parent in Clark County
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - FOX5 is continuing to show viewers the dire need for foster parents as 3,000 children are in need of foster care in Clark County.
On May 5, FOX5 reported that there were 467 children currently under the age of one needed a home.
The very next day, 895 people called the county showing their interest in fostering.
Nearly four months later on August 30, FOX5 reported there were more than 3,000 children in the foster care system with less than 500 homes available. The very next day, 217 people reached out to the county showing an interest in fostering.
Because of the interest viewers have expressed in becoming foster parents, FOX5′s Dani Masten got an exclusive inside look to answer questions for you.
A few thousand children are in the Clark County foster system. Some hope one day to be reunited with their parents or have a place they can truly call a forever home.
Page Patten said she wants to help while they are on what she calls “standby.”
She recently completed her foster care training with the county and is now ready to open her heart and home to a child in need.
“Feeling like this was open to everybody was a really great first step to feel confident to go through the whole process,” said Patten, who says she has always been interested in helping kids.
“Fostering just felt like the right option,” said Patten. “One because there is such a need right now. There are so many kids who need safe homes.”
Patten began her foster parent journey by attending an information session.
“I think it is easy to feel, am I going to qualify,” said Patten. “It sort of seems intimidating and I think that first information session is really helpful to say anyone can do this.”
In the next step, Patten underwent a background check. From there, Patten was in the classroom once a week to complete a 9-week training in which she learned about CPR, child safety and installing a car seat.
“The first day I went in very intimidated, eyes wide open, not knowing what I don’t know,” said Patten.
Patten said that during training, resources were available to perspective foster parents such as programs that offer free clothes, medical services and a hotline for parents called foster parent champions.
“There are so many support groups out there that you don’t feel like you are going through this alone and if you have a day where you need to call and ask someone a question or you are feeling overwhelmed or you need a little extra support there are a lot of people who have been through the process already,” said Patten.
She said the training was eye-opening. Not only arming her with safety and security information, but also giving her a true sense of what foster kids are feeling. The instability, hardships and pain they have endured.
“Just understanding what the kids go through before getting to your home,” said Patten. “So, you feel prepared just understanding trauma, grieve and loss and being able to see it through the child’s perspective.”
Patten’s goal is to now celebrate the good moments instead of the hardships they’ve faced.
“If they have a good relationship with their biological parents to be able to share those really good moments because the kids have been through a lot,” said Patten.
Patten said the training is spread out so she has time to digest the different components.
“Because they break it down so easily, you don’t feel overwhelmed in the end,” said Patten.
Once becoming a foster parent, the average compensation is around $700 a month with medical costs also covered for the child.
This is part one of a four-part series. On Wednesday, FOX5 breaks down the home inspection process and what to expect.
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