Audrain County Health Center offers education to parents and foster parents

Related Story

MEXICO — Parents, teachers and potential foster parents are taking the opportunity to offer their kids a better life by educating themselves on different parenting methods they can implement in their household.

People trying to become licensed foster parents are required by the state to receive 27 hours of training before they will be allowed to have foster kids.

The Audrain County Health Department is offering two classes that can count toward those 27 required hours through the “Maximize Your Family’s Health” program.

According to the most recent statistics on the Missouri foster system, in 2014 almost 9,000 kids were brought into Social Services Children’s Division.

In the same year, less than 2,000 families received their licenses to take in foster children.  

Andrea Swartz taught the parenting session tonight, and she highlighted the importance of foster parents helping the kids taken in by social services.

"Figure out where is a good happy balance to figure out: one, to teach them home can be a safe place, that they don't have to always be either reaching out or scared. It’s kind of just meeting them where they are and letting them grow. It's giving those foster parents the opportunity to educate themselves on the situation," Swartz said.

Swartz said some people who attend the sessions are there because they are required to be there to regain custody of their children. Swartz said the most important reason for everyone to be there is the importance of education.

“Of course, every child is different and has to be treated differently, parented differently and understood differently. This gives a good foundation so they can build off of it, Swartz said. “It gives them some guidelines where they feel comfortable that they’re not creating a problem or ignoring a problem. It's just a really good balance.”

The Missouri Department of Social Services said there are many reasons for people to want to become foster parents, but a decision like this should not be made without first educating yourself.

“Some things that you might want to consider in making your decision about becoming a foster parent are: working with the biological family members, dealing with the loss of child who returns home/leaves your care, some of your personal information can be accessed by the general public (and) the impact of a child moving into or out of your home on your own children/family members.”

The first session was Friday, April 29 from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. and focused on “becoming a Love and Logic parent.”

The second session is Saturday, April 30 from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and will focus on healthy diets and physical fitness for families.