New support group lends a hand to area foster parents

Published 4:18 pm Friday, May 4, 2012

Local foster parents or parents who may have adopted can now reach out for a helping hand.

Butler County Foster/Adoptive Parent Association is a new program in Butler County aimed at supporting parents of foster or adopted children.

Association member Lindsey Croley said she and her husband, Tim, decided to become foster parents about three years ago and said they were discouraged that no support group existed.

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“Tim and I started being foster parents about thee years ago,” Croley said. “There was no foster parents association and there was no communication among the foster parents. It was just a lonely life.”

That all changed when the Department of Human Resources contacted the Croley family to start the association after it had received a few new foster parents.

“It has really been a good thing,” Croley said. “We’ve all become friends, and we talk about what we can do or what someone needs. It has been super beneficial.”

Because foster parents are required to have 15 hours of continuing education each year, this once-a-month meeting can go toward one hour of the education each time.

“We provide an hour of that training, and currently, we’re having a lady come in and talk about healthy foods. We cook each meeting and she provides a recipe.”

Along with cooking, the group learns how to help with homework, deal with separation and issues that foster and adoptive parents run into on a regular basis.

“It’s a support group, because a lot of times foster children leave us, and that’s a very hard time,” Croley said. “We provide a better opportunity to find out what’s happening.”

Along with the meetings, the association is also a civic club that is working to create two scholarships for foster or adopted children.

“We have sent letters out to the community and businesses to ask for donations toward this scholarship,” Croley said. “We have about $800 or $900, and we would like to award two scholarships.”

The goal for the association is raise a total of $1,500 or $750 for each scholarship.

Croley wanted to emphasize that the group is not just for foster parents working with DHR, but also those working private agencies as well. All ages are accepted as well as families with adopted children.

Because the Association is part of the Alabama Foster and Adoptive Association, there is a $20 fee to join that will cover dues, Croley said.

The group meets the second Thursday of every month at 6 p.m. at the Butler County DHR for about an hour, and childcare is provided.

“There are just so many children in our community that need more attention and foster care,” Croley said. “I just want people to see that we are every day people. I feel like if we can get more people on board, we could do so much good for the foster children and children in protective services in DHR.”

For more information on the scholarship or association, contact Lisa Butts at Butler County DHR at 334-382-4400. For those who would like to donate, a check can be written to the Butler County Foster/Adoptive Parent Association and dropped off at DHR.