Upshur County FRN to host open house where you can get answers to all your questions about becoming a foster parent

BUCKHANNON – More than 150 children reside in foster care situations in Upshur County, and over 6,600 children in West Virginia need homes. 

To address those needs, the Upshur County Family Resource Network and Upshur County Partners in Prevention Team have invited the community to a free informational event about foster care. Both agencies have arranged a Foster Care Information Open House from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, July 12 at the Event Center at Brushy Fork.

Lori Ulderich Harvey, executive director of the Upshur County Family Resource Network, said both agencies arranged three similar events before the pandemic and wanted to bring them back. She said it gives people interested in serving as foster parents the ability to learn about the ins and outs of caretaking in a casual environment.

“They have done quite well because there’s a lot of people out there who want to talk to the foster care agencies, and they want to get information, but sometimes they feel if they call the agencies, they may be bothered or they just really don’t want to have someone come out to the house to talk to them when they’re not completely sure,” Harvey said. “This just enables them a way to come speak to all the different agencies and get a good feel for what agency might be the best for them. That’s because some agencies work better with some families than others.”

The event does not require a commitment from the people who attend, instead providing a space in which any would-be foster care parents can get their questions answered.

“There’s people out there who want to help foster kids; they just don’t know how and what is involved because there’s different ways you can help with foster care. You can become a foster parent and you can become someone that’s a respite caretaker,” Harvey said.

The goal of the event is to find more homes for children who have been placed in foster care.

“It’s about getting the kids out of foster care because there’s currently over 150 kids in our county, and there’s not quite enough homes,” Harvey said. “There’s over 6,600 kids in foster care in the state, so it’s a real need. There are people out there who have thought about doing it or wanted to do it, and they just haven’t checked into it, or they have reservations about checking into it, so this just gives them one evening where they can just drop in and out whenever they want to and talk to the agencies that are there.”

The location of the event is also different to accommodate social distancing and give attendees space to talk to the various agencies.

“We have more room to spread out, so it’ll be a little bit easier for the prospective families to sit down and have a little bit of a discussion, one-on-one with the agencies without being crowded together and overhearing conversations or just not being able to hear the conversation very well,” Harvey said. “It’s set up if you just want to come through and pick up the information and go, it’s set up if you want to talk to all or some of the agencies – it’s any way they want to do it.”

Light refreshments will also be provided, as will a kids’ corner.

Anyone with questions may call Lori Ulderich Harvey at 304-473-1051 or email upshurfrn@yahoo.com. More information about the Upshur County Family Resource Network can also be found on their Facebook page.

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