Since October, Heritage Children Services has been operating in Owensboro. With existing locations in Bowling Green and Campbellsville, the firm expanded into Owensboro to help fill the needs of children in the community.
While the motto of the private child care agency is, “Seeking Homes with Heart,” their mission is to train and support foster parents to promote a loving, safe and structured home environment. In addition, that environment should be one that respects children and instills values that empower and encourage hope, health, happiness, purpose, productivity, respect and responsible citizenship.
Jerome Thruston, the local director for Owensboro, said that currently Heritage has about 15 families actively fostering.
“We’d like to see at least 30,” he said.
Thruston admits that some people may be scared to begin the fostering process, for fear that some children, as Heritage can attest to, have experienced trauma of some sort.
Alisha Smith, therapeutic case manager and home resource coordinator, said prospective foster parents fill out a comfort level assessment in an effort to make the best placement matches.
“If someone couldn’t handle a child with a severe disability, they could indicate that, and we would work around it,” Smith said.
Heritage trains its volunteers in trauma-informed parenting. Heritage requires 36 hours of training to become a foster parent.
Thruston said that if an interested party had time, and was able to attend classes once a week, certification could be completed in as little as a month.
One advantage to fostering with Heritage, according to Smith, is that the agency provides weekly contact and support, as well as ongoing training.
Interested parties should contact the local office at 270-231-8040.