Camalot Todd, Nevada Current
January 19, 2024
The Clark County Department of Family Services will start offering fast-tracked classes for foster care licensure this weekend through the end of September to address the shortage of foster parents.
“Family Services started offering expedited training in 2023, in response to the extreme shortage of foster parents in Clark County. We are finding that this strategy is working and families who are stepping up to foster are completing their requirements much faster than before,” said Clark County Family Services Deputy Director Patrick Barkley in a release.
The county currently has 340 licensed foster caregivers, but needs around 280 more foster homes to place the approximately daily average of 100 children on the Child Haven campus that need homes, Stephanie Wheatley, a public information officer for the county said via email.
The county faces multiple barriers in recruiting more foster families, including a shortage of affordable child care, and the county has not had a net gain in foster homes in at least the last five years.
Requirements include being Clark County residents, over 21 years of age, and a 10-year age difference between the children and the foster parent. Fostering is available for single people, married or unmarried couples, individuals with disabilities, LGBTQ+ people, homeowners and renters, stay-at-home, and working parents.
Those interested must attend an information session, go for fingerprinting and a background check as soon as possible which may take up to 6-8 weeks, and gather documentation needed to complete the foster parent application including proof of transportation, home and auto insurance and five character references, complete 24 hours of foster parent training, and ensure the home meets safety requirements.
There is free on-site fingerprinting at the initial information sessions and Family Services covers the costs for physicals and TB testing.
In 2023, Nevada raised the reimbursement rates for foster care for the first time since 2007 from an average of $62.00 per day to $115.00.
The fast-track classes last two to three weekends, compared to the traditional seven-week training program offered by the county. After completing the program, people can foster infants, children, teens, or sibling groups in their care.
In addition to the classes starting this month, the other expedited classes offered throughout the year start on April 7, June 23, and Sept. 21. To sign up, and for more information, visit: www.clarkcountyfostercare.com.
“We are always looking for potential foster parents who have adequate space in their home, who truly care about the well-being of children, and can provide a safe and loving environment. We are also looking for families who understand that the goal for children in foster care is reunification,” Wheatley said.
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