Foster families recognized for supporting Moffat County’s most vulnerable | CraigDailyPress.com

Foster families recognized for supporting Moffat County’s most vulnerable

CRAIG — Moffat County celebrated families who welcome foster children into their lives at its annual Foster Family Appreciation Banquet on April 5.

"I think foster parents have the hardest job working with our children, because they are with them day in and day out. Us professionals go home at night, and they don’t," said Nicole Shatz, child welfare supervisor at Moffat County Department of Human Services.

She said she could not describe all foster caregivers do. Moffat County's foster parents welcome children into their home when they have nowhere else to go.

Foster parent Beth Ford said the experience has been wonderful, painful, eye-opening and tragic "all at the same time."

Still, she said, "it is completely worth it."

“Put yourself in the child’s shoes," said foster parent Rich Ford, Beth's husband. "How terrifying would it be to be bounced around from home to home or stuck in a group home or have no home?"

At the event, 11 families and their social workers were recognized. Families played games, heard from speakers and enjoyed a meal.

For Shatz and DHS Director Dollie Rose, watching the families spend quality time together was the best part of the event.

"It’s always nice to see our foster parents out of the professional setting, where we’re dealing with court or family meetings, those sorts of things," Shatz said. "To be able to interact with them on a different level, I think, is a lot of fun."

DHS Intern Shannon Fatjo planned the event. She said 37 businesses from Moffat and Routt counties donated more than $5,000 worth of goods and activity vouchers, which were given to families in gift baskets.

"Foster parents don’t get reimbursed a high amount, and so for us, it was so nice to see them open their businesses and recognize them (foster parents) as a community," Shatz said.

Beth Ford said the event was an enjoyable evening, and she appreciated the work DHS put in to hold the event.

"I feel like we should be putting it together for them. They do the hard work," Rich Ford said.

But Rose said foster parents have an invaluable place in the child welfare system.

"The government doesn’t raise children well," she said. "Thank goodness for foster families."

Statewide, Colorado is facing a shortage of foster families. In a 2017 analysis conducted by the Colorado Department of Human Services, the agency determined it would need 1,200 more foster families in the next two years. At the time, the agency had 2,000 foster families. Reaching its objective would require a 60 percent increase in the number of families fostering children.

"We do encourage everybody to do this," Beth Ford said. "Everybody we talk to, it’s, ‘You need to do this!'"

Anybody interested in becoming a foster parent in Moffat County is encouraged to contact the foster family coordinator at 970-824-8282.

Reporter Sasha Nelson contributed to this story.

Contact Eleanor Hasenbeck at 970-875-1795 or ehasenbeck@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter, @elHasenbeck.

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Learn more about becoming a foster parent

Moffat County Department of Human Services will host a Foster Parent Open House at 6 p.m. May 1.

Guide to fostering

Moffat County needs more foster families. The following how-to provides information about the qualifications, certifications and who to contact.

Foster parent basic qualifications:

  • 21 years old or older
  • Parents can be single, married, divorced or widowed
  • Own or rent a home
  • Adequate financial resources to maintain a home
  • Provide for the child’s physical, mental and character development

Certification requirements:

  • Foster care program orientation
  • Complete and submit an application
  • Complete pre-certification training including 12 hours of foster parent core training and 15 hours of additional training
  • Ongoing annual training:
    • 20 hours per year of CPR and First Aid Certification, Structured Analysis Family Evaluation home study
    • Complete SAFE questionnaires
    • At minimum, one face-to-face that includes joint couple interview, interview with each adult member of the household and an interview with all children residing in the home. Single applicants require two face-to-face interviews in lieu of the joint couple interview.
  • Background checks by:
    • Colorado Bureau of Investigation
    • Federal Bureau of Investigation
    • Colorado State Courts Data Access
  • Complete a health physical and other pertinent health information and an on-site home inspection so that reports may be entered annually into the Trails child welfare data system.
  • Obtain a statement from references

Individuals and families wishing to become a foster parent and/or foster family should contact:

  • Foster Family Coordinator Markie Green 970-824-8282, ext. 2017
  • Child Welfare Supervisor Nicole Shatz 970-824-8282, ext. 2025