National Foster Care Month brings awareness to need for parents in Mississippi
JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - It’s National Foster Care Month. Here in Mississippi, willing and loving foster parents are needed more than ever.
It’s not always easy to welcome people into your home, but with nearly 4,000 Mississippi children in the state’s foster care system, foster care parents say it’s time to open your doors.
“I can’t stress how much we need more foster parents — parents to step up for our community and our state of Mississippi,” foster mom Mallory Cooley said.
“They need people to step in and stand in the gap, and love them while they are needing that place, that safe place,” foster/adoptive mom, Lindsey Rowland explained.
But how many children are in your area?
According to the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services’ website, Hinds, Warren, Lee, Harrison, and Jackson County have between 100 to 300 children who need a place to go.
“I’ve probably had close to 20 placements. The kicker with me, though, is I love to co-parent with my families. I’d love to stay in touch and say to make sure that they’re dealing with, you know, everybody’s doing what they need to do in the best interests of the child,” Cooley said.
To become a foster parent, CPS requires a criminal background check, state residency, being 21 years or older, and more. However, there’s a few personal traits you’ll need as well.
“Patience and selflessness, honestly. I mean, anything else, you’re never going to feel ready. Just like having your own child, you’re never going to feel ready. But you make it work. When you’re doing a good thing, you make it work,” Rowland said.
“You just never know what you’re going to get. I mean, it can be a child that’s been sexually assaulted, or it can be a child that hasn’t eaten, or if there’s a family that just needs help for a minute. So you don’t know every child that you get is a totally different story, and you just have to start at ground one,” Cooley explained.
But despite hardships, each foster parent says the same thing.
“You are ready. You just have to take the leap of faith and do it,” Cooley said.
“If you’ve ever thought about it, just do it. It’s worth it,” Rowland said.
MSCPS is actively recruiting people to become a foster parent across the state. For more information on how to become a parent call (601) 359-4368 or visit their website https://www.mdcps.ms.gov/.
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