National Foster Care Month

May is National Foster Care Month, as it was designated back in 1988.

Our Fact Finder Team looked into some of the changes in foster care since that time. As communities around the country honor foster parents, we spoke with Mayor Dale Uehling of Ottumwa. He and his wife have been foster parents for over 25 years.

Mayor Uehling told Fact Finder about some of the changes in foster care services over the years with the Department of Human Services (DHS).

"It used to be that we worked directly with the local DHS. Now there is a 'Kids Sake' Program, a private organization that helps place the kids. And they still work with DHS, and a DHS worker is assigned to the foster child," Mayor Uehling said.

He added that extensive training is needed to be a foster parent.

"You have to be trained to be a foster parent. In fact, you have to take a very extensive amount of training. I think it is 30 hours in a program to become a foster parent. And then you have to continue to get training, I think it's six hours a year, training. So it is something that we don't take lightly. And it is a very high responsibility," Mayor Uehling said.

The Mayor discussed a Foster Parent Support Group in Ottumwa connected with this training. He encouraged those interested in becoming foster parents to look into it.

A number of local activities for National Foster Care Month are still being scheduled.