Jewish Star In the first step of a long process to recruit potential parents through OHEL for foster children, OHEL presented the fourth recruitment meeting in two years, noted Derek Saker, Director of Communications for OHEL Children’s Home and Family Services. “We are always looking to increase the pool of foster parents,” he said. “There is a shrinking pool of parents available to take foster children.” Currently, OHEL has 70 foster parents in their jurisdiction but they are having recruitment meetings “because there is a greater need for more foster parents.” He said the need is “especially acute” for adolescents and children with special needs.
“There isn’t a number of how many foster parents are needed,” said Saker. “We can’t predict how many foster children will come into foster care at a given time. We need many foster parents from diverse backgrounds and with various family compositions to find the best match to meet the individual needs of the children.”
Some of the speakers at the meeting discussed their personal experiences as foster parents. Sara and Azriel Ganz have been foster parenting for 14 years. They ultimately adopted a foster child in their care four years ago. “She’s my daughter, just like the others,” said Azriel. Parents and OHEL staff noted that a foster parent has to care for the child’s physical and emotional well being and education, and work toward the goal of returning the child to the biological parents. A foster parent has to be certified, they and the home environment are assessed and they have to go through training. Each placement has to be approved by OHEL and the foster parents and family.