Submitted by San Juan County Superior Court
Foster care is the temporary placement of children — often due to child abuse or neglect — outside of their own homes and into approved relative care or licensed foster care homes. The goal of foster care is to provide for the physical, emotional, and social needs of children in a “substitute” family setting until children can be reunited with their own families. In cases where a reunion is not possible, those foster children may be placed with relatives, an adoptive family or with a legal guardian.
In cases where there are not appropriate relatives nearby to lend support, licensed foster care homes are essential. Ideally, children placed in foster care should stay in their communities and continue attending the same schools, which can be incredibly important to maintaining stability.
Unfortunately, in San Juan County, there simply are not sufficient licensed foster care options. In dependency cases where placement with relatives is not possible, it is almost always necessary to place children in licensed foster care outside of San Juan County. Sadly, this means more change and transition for kids in the midst of existing turmoil. In addition, out of county foster care placement also can make it more difficult for parents to enjoy frequent visits with their children, which is essential to maintaining parent-child relationships and supporting family reunification.
What can you do to provide greater opportunities for children in foster care to stay in their familiar community? Find out more about becoming a foster parent. There are many ways to serve as a foster parent, and all varieties of commitment, from providing respite care to long-term fostering to adoption.
Consider attending a presentation by Fostering Together to learn more about becoming a foster parent on Thursday, June 13, at 6 p.m. at the San Juan Island Grange. If you cannot make it to San Juan Island for this event, please contact Juvenile Court Services Administrator Linnea Anderson at 360-370-7440 to connect you with resources and information.
Fostering Together is dedicated to finding and supporting foster families in Washington state. Find out more at fosteringtogether.org/about/about-us/.