Finding A Family: Becoming a Foster or Adoptive Parent - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Finding A Family: Becoming a Foster or Adoptive Parent

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The 4,000 kids available for adoption in our state right now are looking for families just like yours. The process of connecting waiting children with good homes isn't as complex and you might think.

"We look for healthy, mature, and stable adults who are able to  provide stability for children," said Melissa Vincent, who works for the West Virginia Division of Health and Human Resources.

The first step is a 27-hour training course called "Pride Training."

"They learn about the court proceedings, and they also learn about the department's policies and procedures," Vincent explained.

Prospective parents train on navigating legal issues and any issues the children might bring into their home.

"They learn about the children's behaviors, how to deal with different behaviors, what kind of services are available to assist families in parenting children," Vincent said.

After the training, there are background checks and evaluations. Then, certified parents describe the type of child they'd like in their home.

"We try to make appropriate matches so that they will be a good fit," Vincent said. "We want every placement to be the child's last placement if they cannot return to their family."

Even then, foster and adoptive parents are not alone.

"A lot of times families meet each other while going through the Pride Training and they become a support to one another," Vincent said. "They also have support through the workers at the department of health and human resources."

Contact your local DHHR office to get the process started.