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VENTURA COUNTY ROUNDUP | WEST COUNTY / COUNTYWIDE

50 Foster Homes Sought in 50 Days

November 12, 1998|HOLLY J. WOLCOTT

A group of about 50 public officials and residents gathered Wednesday morning to discuss the county's need for more foster homes.

The county's Human Services Agency, which handles children removed from their homes for reasons of abuse, neglect or because a caretaker is addicted or incarcerated, has launched a campaign called "50 Homes in 50 Days."

"When the kids are put in the system because of something their parents have done, it's hard," Ventura County Sheriff Bob Brooks said during the gathering at a Ventura shopping center.

County Supervisor Kathy Long said people should open their hearts during the holiday season because "these kids are all alone and facing an uncertain future."

Agency spokeswoman Jennifer Zide said the average stay for a child in foster care is six months to a year. Families who can accommodate children for that length of time are needed most.

There are about 400 children in foster care in Ventura County, including 40 awaiting placement while staying at the Casa Pacifica shelter in Camarillo. There are about 185 foster homes throughout the county.

The holiday campaign seeks a 25% increase in foster homes in the county. For example, there are 34 foster homes in Ventura and eight more are being sought. There are 49 homes in Oxnard and Port Hueneme, and 12 more are needed.

Children in the foster system range in age from 2 months to 17, Zide said. Training for prospective foster families takes between eight and 10 weeks, but can be quicker for those willing to accept older children and their siblings.

For information, call (800) 600-7111, Ext. 275.

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