by Jennifer Parker
HUERFANO- May is Foster Care Awareness month and thanks to the effort of Becca Castle, the county was awarded a $1000 grant to be used for the celebration and recognition of local foster families. Huerfano County Social Services gave a banquet Tuesday, May 13, in honor of foster families within the county. Castle, who is the Foster Care Coordinator, thanked the families for providing children with a loving, caring home while waiting for the birth family or an adoption process. “Foster parents open their hearts and homes to meet the needs and care of children. You all are teachers, mentors, and role models. You are the consistency and structure for the children.” The state requires that foster families have 20 hours of training every year to keep families knowledgeable and up to date. Usually families have to travel around the state to attend the classes, but Castle announced that Social Services will be providing local workshops that include : Mental health and medication; Sexual abuse; Stress management; Transitioning youth to permanency; and Life books. The latter is a great program that consists of a child having their own book that records their milestones from birth to the teenage years. The book stays with the child so that he or she has a sense of identity and can reflect back on the book later in life.
A special thank you went out to two groups of ladies, the River Round-up Group and the Prairie Rangers, who recently brought Social Services around 30 care bags for foster children; the gift bags included clothing, hand-crafted blankets, and a toy.
There were many families who were recognized and celebrated for their years of service to the county’s children. Debbie and Steve Channel, Barbara and Rick Watts, Pedro Trujillo, Kim Whitman, Robert and Sandy Garcia, Kyle and Jennifer Bohannon, Kari and Nathan Guerrero, Lynette Sandquist and Mickey and Salvatore D′Ambrosia who were the veterans of the group with 22 years of foster care experience.
Charles (Chuck) Macchietto, Director of Social Services, also wanted to recognize his staff saying that in his over 35 years in the business; this is the best crew he has ever worked with. His staff consists of Josephine Harriman, Anita Cordova, Dana Antista, Dreama Ortivez, and Becca Castle. Macchietto also wanted to include his gratitude to the families of his staff for allowing them to put in long and unexpected hours for the sake of a child.
Macchietto was also presented with an award from his staff for his hard work and dedication. He stated of foster families, “Making a difference can be a real simple thing. Foster parents are the people who make a difference for a child one day at a time. We admire the work you do and your commitment. Thank you very much.” County Commissioners, Art Bobian and Scott King, were also recognized for their efforts with the program.
The county’s Social Service Department averages between 12-14 children in their program at any given time, and the children average in age from birth to 18 years. Their time in care varies per circumstances. There is a great need for foster families in Huerfano County. Currently there are only 3 certified families. If you are interested in learning more about this process, please contact Becca Castle at Social Services, 738-2810.
Raising children, especially in today’s world, can be very difficult and time-consuming. It takes a very special person to be able to take on the care of a new child. Thank you to all who have a hand in this process. You may not always get the thanks you deserve, but know that you are definitely making a difference and are helping to shape the positive outcome of a child’s life simply by letting them know you care.