Community Insights: LPC Foster Care

June 17 2024

La Plata County's Foster Care program continues to serve our community's children, guiding families through a thorough certification process to ensure each child finds a nurturing environment. Despite emotional challenges, foster families provide vital care. Initiatives like Foster Friendly Durango unite businesses and communities to offer essential support. By Sadie Smith. This story is sponsored by Alpine Bank.

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Hi, I'm Eric Eicher, employee-owner and president of Alpine Bank Durango. At Alpine Bank, we believe in the power of community and connecting you with the resources you need to work, live, and play in our community. I hope you enjoy this edition of "Community Insights."

From challenges to triumphs, the La Plata County Foster Care Program continues to serve the children of our community. Becoming a certified foster parent involves a comprehensive process facilitated by the Department of Human Services. Families are paired with a dedicated caseworker who guides them through the rigorous checklist of state-mandated certification requirements. This process ensures that every child in the foster care system finds refuge in a secure and nurturing environment.

We took our first placement about 14 years ago now. Since then, we've had roughly 60 kids in and out of our house, some very short-term, some very long-term. Three of those, we've actually adopted six kids, three internationally, but three through foster care, so three of those 60 stayed.

The primary objective of foster care is reunification, aiming to return children to their biological families or primary caregivers. As a result, foster families often provide temporary care for these children.

You are going to get attached, and it's super hard. I have a hard time not crying every time I think about it. Because of the 60 kids, there isn't one that we have not become attached to, whether it's a day or a year. So we're real with them on that, that don't be afraid to be attached, but actually please do become attached, but know that it's going to rip your heart out every time, but that our hearts heal.

The Department of Human Services is always recruiting new families who want to welcome a child into their family.

One of the biggest challenges is that we essentially cycle through our families. And so a lot of times, families will reach their capacity, you know, through an adoption, and they are no longer to provide that service for us because they're essentially full. And so we constantly are having to recruit new foster families.

Parenting a child from the foster care system requires unique care due to their often traumatic backgrounds.

A lot of our children obviously come from abuse and neglect situations, and we want our parents to understand that just regular parenting, how they parented their children, doesn't necessarily, it's not effective with children who have been abused and neglected. So a lot of it, like I said, is trauma-informed parenting.

Foster Friendly Durango is a community-driven app designed to support the foster program by bringing together businesses, faith communities, nonprofits, and leaders. Through this platform, the Durango community can give back and support foster families and children in need.

We have an app where businesses can be on the app to give discounts. Sometimes they give free resources to kids in care, free senior pictures, or free rafting trips, or things like that to really give these kids in care a, we want them to experience what it's like to be in a healthy community, in a healthy family. And so this app is really paving the way to do that.

Local businesses and faith communities are encouraged to become foster-friendly and join the app to offer services and discounts to foster families. For details about the La Plata County Foster Care Program, visit the Department of Human Services website. We're proud to present "Community Insights," powered by the Local NEWS Network and sponsored by Alpine Bank. With "Community Insights," our mission is to foster a stronger and more connected community in La Plata County and beyond. For more information about this and other stories, visit Thank you for watching this edition of "Community Insights." I'm Sadie Smith.


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