Can you help a child? Foster parents needed in Malheur County, state says

ONTARIO — The state Department of Human Services, Lifeways and Greater Oregon Behavioral Health will be hold an open house to help prospective foster parents and adoptive parents.

The informational session will be held Wednesday, Jan. 23, at the Four Rivers Cultural Center, starting at 5:30 p.m. and lasting until 7 p.m. Refreshments and child care will be provided.

There are 86 certified foster homes in Malheur County – 23 general applicants and 46 relatives as foster parents, according to the state. But the number of kids being placed in foster care outpaces that number.

“The need is great,” said Leah Mack, foster care certification supervisor at the Ontario office of the Department of Human Services. “We don’t have a specific number, but there’s a great need for families to foster as well as relatives.”

She said there are different types of foster care opportunities in Oregon. Children can be placed with relatives or close family friends. People can foster a child with the option to adopt or provide a temporary home for emergencies.

Mack hopes that with more foster parents, children who want to say in their familiar environment and in their school will have the option of doing so.

“We’re recruiting and looking for prospective foster parents of any kind,” said Mack. “The more (foster parents) we have, the more we can match well.”

The event will offer opportunities to ask questions and speak with DHS staff.

Marta Calderon of Lifeways and Bryce Lee Van Zelf of Greater Oregon Behavioral Health will moderate the presentation.