The August 2005 Hurricane has left many parts of Louisiana, including the entire city of New Orleans; parts of Mississippi, and Alabama devastated by a terrible storm named Katrina. The areas have been left under water or shredded with debris. Many now, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, are turning their attention to how to help those suffering, especially the youngest victims of the storm - the children.
Many families have emailed me wishing to take in those displaced by Katrina. I have also been wondering about the current foster children and families forced to evacuate those areas that were hardest hit. I called the Department of Social Services, Foster Care divisions in both Louisiana and Mississippi.
Questions / Answers
- Have you been able to locate all of your foster families? -
Mississippi has not been able to find all of their foster families as of September 7, 2005.
- Are you allowing the foster children to remain with their current foster families? -
Mississippi stated that as long as the foster family is able to secure a suitable living environment, the children have been allowed to remain. If not other options have to be explored for the children. Louisiana stated that some foster children were evacuated with their foster parents while others were not.
- How are the workers keeping track of their families and children? -
Louisiana answered simply - "We are working with them the best we can."
- How can those in other states help? -
Both states made the same comment - Louisiana and Mississippi will be working with other states in finding children needed homes, but they can not place children in unlicensed homes.
- Adoption of Hurricane Katrina orphans will not be a possibility for many months as agencies work to locate family first. As with the Tsunami there are many reasons why adoption will not be an option for quite some time.
- Many families have been separated. It may take several months before we know which children have extended family ready to take them in and which children need an adoption placement.
- The court process of terminating parental rights takes many months. Not only for the scheduling of the court date itself, but to prove that a child does not have family resources.
If You Are Already a Foster Parent
- Please contact your local agency and let them know that you are interested in helping a child who has been displaced due to the storm.
How to Become a Licensed Foster Care Provider
- Call your local Department of Social Services and learn the requirements for foster parents within your home state. Find contact information at our Fostering By State Map and click on your state for more information on becoming a foster parent.
- Begin any required fostering classes immediately. These may take several weeks to complete, but offer a wealth of information regarding caring for children who have lived through traumatic experiences.
- Find out what the requirements are for your home and begin making needed repairs or upgrades. Some may be little changes; like buying a fire extinguisher for the kitchen, to larger jobs like installing a railing for your basement stairs.
- Many states require health assessments so begin scheduling doctor appointments.
- Once your classes are completed and your home has been inspected, let your agency know your wish to foster a child that has been orphaned by Hurricane Katrina. Some states are already calling out to their communities for more foster families as Hurricane Katrina survivors move into new areas. Know that at this time things are very confusing and the agencies don't know how all of this will work and coordinate together.
Remember that your home state is always in need of foster families as many wait in group homes for a family. If you are not called upon to help a Hurricane Katrina child, please consider helping other children in need within your community.
If Providing Foster Care for a Hurricane Katrina Child Is Not for You or Your FamilyConsider these organizations and check out other ways to send help: The National Foster Parent Association - If you would like to focus help toward foster families and foster children
Feed the Children
Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund
Christian Children's Fund or ChildFund International