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VENTURA COUNTY ROUNDUP | COUNTYWIDE

Grants Aid Colleges' Foster-Care Classes

May 28, 1999|-JENNIFER HAMM

The county's community colleges are slated to receive about $170,000 in state grants to run their Foster Care Education Programs.

Each of the three county colleges will receive at least $50,000 from the state community college system to set up or continue funding introductory and continuing education classes for foster parents.

"What we want to make certain is, regardless of where a foster parent lives, that they will have training available to them," said Diana Caskey, who runs the foster care services program for the Department of Children and Family Services.

The county has had trouble completing a state requirement offering 12 hours of pre-licensing training and eight hours of continuing education each year for foster parents. For several years, Oxnard College has been the only school to offer foster education.

"Now, all three community colleges will have their own site-specific instructors," said Caskey.

At Moorpark College, Carol Howell, a professor of child development, will direct the grant and establish the training curriculum and class schedules, which are slated to begin this summer. Foster parents will be trained in how to work with children who have suffered family violence, alcohol and drug abuse, gang or cult exposure and teen pregnancy.

"This grant enables us to better serve foster-care providers in the east county," said Linda Cravens, who coordinates the college's child development program, in a written statement. "They do the hardest job in the world . . . willingly."

The Foster Care Education Program is a cooperative effort of state and county social services and community colleges. For more information on becoming a foster parent, call 654-3450.

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