State looking for foster and adoptive parents in Pahrump

The State of Nevada is looking for good foster families and adoptive parents in Pahrump.

The Division of Child and Family Services will hold a three-day educational program in town this weekend, providing potential adoptive parents all they need to know on the process of adopting a foster child.

The program starts today and runs through Saturday and Sunday at the division’s Pahrump District Office, located at 1780 E. Basin Ave., Suite 2. Times are Friday at noon until 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 8:30 a.m. through 6:30 p.m., bringing the total training time to 27 hours over nine, three-hour sessions.

“The training is a three-day program, and it’s no charge to the people who attend it,” said Lori Nichols, from foster care recruitment of the Division of Child and Family Services. “It’s a fast and furious kind of training, it’s very condensed.

“The reason for that it is because people have to travel in from other areas, so we try to make it a little bit easier for them to get it all done in one swoop, instead of coming in for two hours a night and dragging it out for a long, extended period.”

Nichols recommends calling her to sign up and not just showing up unregistered Friday to make sure all that attend are accounted for, making the training go as smooth as possible.

You can register for the training by calling toll free, 888-423-2659 ahead of the event.

The training goes into why children have certain behaviors, focusing on trauma and how it affects children. Abuse and neglect bring trauma, so a big part of the training it learning how to deal with situations that could arise as the result of a child’s turbulent past, Nichols said.

Also, the basic ins and outs of providing foster care are taught to the prospective foster parents, allowing them to aid kids in crisis. Rural areas like Pahrump are especially tough to recruit adoptive parents Nichols explained, as the distance between areas creates communication barriers that are tough to overcome at times.

“The challenge is trying to spread the message of the need for foster homes out in rural communities, and keeping it moving,” she said. “We can work really hard in one area and then the other areas may be neglected for awhile, as far as trying to recruit. So I need people in those areas to spread the message for me of the need of foster homes.

“Just because we’re not condensed and are more spread out, I think it does make it more challenging.”

There are various reasons why children come into care of the state, with most of them coming down to the child’s well-being being at stake.

“It’s pretty straight across the board, that children usually come into care of the agency when there’s obviously physical abuse that’s occurred,” Nichols said. “Physical neglect, things like inadequate food, inadequate clothing, or shelter, and also environmental neglect. Those are some of the reasons why kids come into care.”

There is no age cap of a potential foster parent as Nichols stated that elderly foster parents have cared for children into their 60s and 70s, the only age barrier is that an applicant must be at least 21 years of age or older.

Background checks are conducted on all applicants and residents 18 years or older living in the home.

The key to any successful adoptive parent is being able to cope with the issues that may arise from a child that has physical and mental trauma of coming from an unhealthy home environment is very important.

“Someone that has a really good understanding of the developmental stages in children,” she said. “Certainly that’s part of the training that we do provide. Families that are really flexible, single or couples are encouraged to apply.

“Definitely patience is a big one. Love and understanding and just a genuine care for kids. Wanting to see kids thrive and do well, and that’s really what we’re looking for.”

May is National Foster Care Awareness Month.