Foster parents are heroes; we need more heroes |

Foster parents are heroes; we need more heroes

the Nevada Appeal editorial board

Proclamations from the governor vary in importance, but we hope the one issued by Gov. Kenny Guinn on Wednesday gets plenty of attention.

The proclamation recognized May as National Foster Care Month, and paid tribute to the foster families who provide safe and supportive homes for young people in crisis.

What it doesn’t say is that there is a dire need for more foster parents.

The shortage means that children who are subjected to the trauma of being removed from their homes face the additional trauma of being taken away from their schools and friends. That happens when there is no foster home close by and the children are sent to another county where room is available.

When you put a child in a new school, he or she typically falls about six months behind in education, according to child-welfare advocates.

“Foster homes allow displaced youth to live together with their siblings, remain in their own neighborhoods, and stay in their same schools,” Gov. Guinn said in his proclamation.

Being a foster parent isn’t always easy, but those who do it know they could be the difference between a child living a productive, happy life or repeating the mistakes made by their parents.

Prospective foster parents must be age 21 or older, have a stable income, maintain a clean and safe home, and be willing to complete a training program and law enforcement background check.

If you’re interested, call the Division of Child and Family Services at 1-888-423-2659.

If you want to see how deep the need is, show up at a ribbon-tying event on Sunday on the Capitol grounds from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. A blue ribbon representing every child in foster care in Nevada will be tied to a tree branch.