Parenting another’s child |

Parenting another’s child

Roberta Hume remembers the Christmas when she had 11 children living in her house.

Seven of them were hers.

The other four were not, but they still got the same level of love and support. The difference was that their home with Hume was temporary.

Hume has been a certified foster parent for 25 years. She’s one of few. According to social case worker Anna Adams, only six foster families remain in Craig.

“It’s a really serious problem,” she said.

The availability of foster homes is plummeting just as the need is escalating.

“It’s hard to give it a number, but we really do need more (families) than we have,” Adams said.

She attributes the need to

the growing methamphetamine problem in Moffat County. There are currently 12 to 15 children in foster care — some of them with family members.

That number fluctuates on a daily basis, Adams said.

“These things are totally unpredictable,” she said. “It would be wonderful to me if I didn’t have to place another kid in foster care this year. I keep my fingers crossed until they get cramped.”

But more keep flooding in.

It’s a misconception that the Moffat County Department of Social Services decides whether to remove a child from a home. Law enforcement has that ability or a social worker can do it on a judge’s order, but that social worker can’t make the decision.

“And we don’t want to,” Adams said.

She said the department would rather keep a child in a home than remove the child. In that situation, social workers work with parents to deal with whatever puts a child at risk — anger management issues or drug use, for example.

“Even if from the outside it looks like a dysfunctional family, that’s all the child knows,” Adams said. “We work with the family to make it function.”

A shortage of foster homes isn’t a new challenge for the De-part-ment of Social Services. Acc-ording to Adams, it’s always been struggle.

“It’s not an easy job, and you don’t get rich doing it,” she said. “It’s a huge commitment, and it’s tough finding people to make that commitment.”

It takes a special kind of person. Adams said what’s necessary in a foster parent is someone who cares for children and is willing to make a commitment.

Hume is one of those people.

When children are placed in foster care, there’s also no knowing how long they will be there. It can range from hours to years.

Hume said it’s an experience she couldn’t live without.

“These babies are what keep me going,” she said.

Hume, whose own children range in age from 15 to 31, works mostly with very young children.

The reward, she said, is in hoping you’ve done some good and been a positive experience in a child’s life.

“My little ones will never know, but …” she said.

Hume’s children have benefited from the experience. Two are considering becoming foster parents.

She said she still receives cards and pictures of children she cared for.

“That’s really neat,” she said.But, she doesn’t deny that it’s hard.

“It makes you sick every time they go back to parents who say they ‘won’t do it again,'” she said.

Adams agrees that the job is hard and the rewards are intangible.

“The reward isn’t money, it’s the effect you have on a child’s life,” Adams said. “(Foster parents) can see a child develop in so many ways. They just see a child blossom.”

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210 or by e-mail at

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