Foster families celebrated

Published 9:19 pm Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Derniya Jackson slides down an inflatable slide Saturday at the Fair in the Park at Craig Field Ballpark. -- Chris Wasson

Sixty kids in Dallas County are without homes.

That was part of the message the Dallas County Department of Human Resources was trying to provide while having fun at Craig Ball Park Saturday.

The Festival in the Park brought together foster children and parents in Dallas County in an effort to raise awareness of the need for more foster parents, but also to raise funds for Christmas gifts for those children in the foster system.

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“It’s something we need to let the people know about,” Dallas County DHR social services caseworker Andrea Dailey said. “We were at 90 children a couple of years back, and it’s good that our numbers have gone down, but there is still a great need for foster parents.”

Food, games and other activities were all available for a price so that money could be raised for the presents, Dailey said, but it also gave other foster parents and children a chance to meet one another.

“It is a joy to be able to take a child in and fill the void that is in his or her life,” Linda Cook, foster parent who lives in Dallas County and president of the Dallas County Foster Parents Association, said. “To embrace them and show them love and kindness —  there’s no better feeling in the world. We have come together to talk together and give comfort to one another.”

Dailey said the fun and festivities also brought unplanned guests who inquired about what it takes to be a foster parent.
“We have packets and all sorts of goodies filled with all of the information you could want,” Dailey said.

For those who didn’t make it out to the fun in the park, Dailey gave the qualifications needed to be a foster parent.

-Must be over 19

-Can be single or married, but married couples must be married at least one year

-The children most in need of foster care are teenagers, children with medical hardships and multiple children.

-Potential foster parents must take part in a 30-hour training course provided by DHR before becoming foster parents.