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Empire Editorial: Reach out, Southeast, and hold the hand of a child

Posted: August 26, 2013 - 11:05pm

There are children in Alaska without a safe place to call home. Some of the children are young, others nearly adults. These children do not share the same parents, siblings or experiences, yet all have one thing in common — they are foster kids and are in need of our help.

We ran a news item in Sunday’s edition of the Juneau Empire calling for those with “room in your heart and home” to consider becoming a foster parent. Alaska is in need, according to the Alaska Center for Resource Families, an organization with a goal of providing support to those who need it; foster families, adoptive parents, relative caregivers or guardians, not to mention foster children, all benefit from the services of the organization.

The organization said the need for certified foster families and caregivers is ever present. They are always looking for a variety of homes with which to match foster children. But no child is the same and each has unique needs; the more options the organization has for placement, the better the chance they will find a good fit.

“Sometimes, all OCS (office of child services) can come up with is only a temporary home,” John Bennett, Family Support Specialist in the Juneau ACRF office, said. “In a couple of weeks (that child may have) bounced again. Every time that kid makes a move, it’s harmful to the child.”

So get involved, Alaska! There are plenty with more to give. There are many with a wholesome life worth sharing.

Alaska’s children are more important than the gold hidden under the proposed Pebble Mine site. They are the ones who will ultimately benefit or be challenged by the oil tax decisions of today. They’ll be the ones fighting for resources, land and the survival of cultures that make Alaska great.

By becoming a certified option for placement organizations like ACRF, we can help ensure the needs of Alaska’s foster children will be met.

You’re interested? Great. There will be an all-day certified training event held in Juneau on Saturday, Sept. 14, at the Vocational Training and Resource Center, 3239 Hospital Drive. The event is co-sponsored by Tlingit and Haida Tribal Family and Youth Services. For more information call 790-4246, or email Bennett at jbennett@nwresource.org.

“There’s a child out there in need and, hopefully, there’s a family that meets that child’s needs,” Bennett said.

All foster children are not the same, but the one thing they all share is the need for a loving home.

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