Call goes out for more St. John foster parents

Published 12:12 am Wednesday, July 4, 2018

LAPLACE — More than 520 children across seven parishes in the Thibodaux area have left their families due to neglect, abuse, sexual victimization or other circumstances, according to Tangela Smith, child welfare specialist for the Department of Children & Family Services.

Foster parents are needed to provide nurturing, short-term care for these children, and interested individuals are invited to learn more about the application process in St. John the Baptist Parish.

A public orientation is being held at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the St. John Parish Department of Children & Family Services, located at 429 W. Airline Highway in LaPlace.

“Every child has a right to a happy and stable home,” Smith said. “Our first goal is reunification with the biological family. We need homes where people can take care of the children until then.”

Adoption is available in cases where children are unable to return to their families, according to Smith. Information on adopting and foster parenting children ages 0-17, including qualifications and the application process, will be available at the orientation.

Foster parents must be between the ages of 21 years and 65 at the time of certification, according to Smith.

Foster parents must be financially stable, in good mental and physical health and able to provide adequate space to bring a child into their home. Applicants provide verification of their martial status – single, married, divorced or widowed – and must agree to a medical exam for all family members, a criminal background check and a home fire and safety inspection.

The safety inspection is included during the home study process, which would be conducted by a local agency worker and include up to three meetings.

No materials are required to attend orientation.

“All you need to bring is a listening ear,” Smith said, adding information on next steps would be provided at the meeting.

Foster parent orientations are held every three months in St. John Parish, Smith said. Following Tuesday’s orientation, the last session of the year is scheduled for 6 p.m. Oct. 4.

After learning about the certification process, qualified candidates are invited to participate in pre-service training sessions.

According to Department of Children & Family Services Louisiana, upcoming pre-service training classes in District IV are scheduled for Aug. 18, Aug. 25, Sept. 1 and Sept. 8 at Living World Church in Schriever and for Oct. 27, Nov. 3, Nov. 10 and Nov. 17 at First Baptist Church in Gonzales.

For more information, call 985-447-0945 or visit