HATTIESBURG, Miss.- New foster parents can attend a weekend of intense training at William Carey University in Hattiesburg, called Rescue 100, on July 29-31.
The goal of the training is to meet the needs of abused and neglected children in the Pine Belt area.
Currently, there are 302 licensed foster homes in Region 6, or the Pine Belt. That includes Forrest, Lamar, Marion, Pearl River, Perry and Stone Counties. According to the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services, only 152 of those homes are licensed for kids that are not related to who they are placed with.
That means half of the foster parents in the area are only allowed to care for members of their own extended family.
“We are in dire need of non-relative foster homes. That’s why this program is so important, because it focuses on non-relative foster homes,” said Susie Q. Evans, Olivia Y Settlement Coordinator for the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services.
Rescue 100 is a collaboration of the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services, The Mississippi Commission on Children’s Justice, and adoption agencies like 200 Million Flowers, the Mississippi Children’s Home Society, and Southern Christian Services for Children and Youth.
They are also inviting area churches to attend the event.
There will be four orientations at county courthouses. All orientations will be held from 6 pm to 7 pm. Those include:
- July 18 at the Marion County Chancery Court in Columbia
- July 19 at the Pearl River County Courthouse in Picayune
- July 20 at the Lamar County Courthouse in Purvis
- July 21 at the Forrest County Chancery Court in Hattiesburg
“This is CPS, the courts and the faith-based community all coming together to meet the needs of our children,” said Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Dawn Beam of Sumrall.
Organizers are preparing to train at least 200 foster parents in the areas listed and already 81 people have registered.
Rescue 100 is the second large scale training event held recently.
More than 800 children are in foster care in Region 6.
- Forrest County, 188
- Lamar County, 44
- Marion County, 217
- Pearl River County, 238
- Perry County, 38
- Stone County, 116
For more information on Rescue 100 and registration just visit www.200millionflowers.org/rescue100.