‘Alabama is in desperate need of families to care for these children’

10-week foster parent training begins Aug. 14 in Cullman

Northbrook Baptist Church in Cullman will host a 10-week foster parent training course administered by the Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes & Family Ministries beginning Sunday, Aug. 14. (Sara Gladney for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – A 10-week foster parent training course will be held at Northbrook Baptist Church in Cullman starting Sunday, Aug. 14. Sessions will be every Sunday from 2-5 p.m. The free course, provided by Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes & Family Ministries (ABCH), will be led by the organization’s trained foster care social workers, including Sena Sharp, and experienced foster parents.  

The training will cover how the Child Protective Services system operates and how to best care for children who have experienced abuse and neglect.

In Alabama, child welfare is overseen by the Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR). When DHR does not have enough foster homes for children in need, placement can be sought through other licensed agencies such as ABCH.

ABCH has offered foster parent training classes in north Alabama for more than a decade. Children are placed with ABCH through private placement (where the child’s parent or guardian decides to place the child in one of the ABCH homes for a time) or if Alabama DHR decides it is in a child’s best interest to be placed with ABCH.

Addressing the June 24, 2022, overturing of Roe v. Wade by the United States Supreme Court and the strict abortion laws that went into effect in Alabama four days later (abortion is now banned, except in cases of life endangerment and health of the patient), Sharp said she is unsure how the law will affect the rate at which training classes will be provided.

“I think it’s difficult to know the impact of the Roe v. Wade decision upon foster care,” she said. “ABCH has a history of providing high-quality care for children in foster care since 1891. We will continue our mission regardless of the changes to come.”

There are currently 185 children in foster care in Cullman County, and about 5,900 statewide.

Said Sharp, “Alabama is in desperate need of families to care for these children until they can return home, to a relative, or be adopted.”  

Attending the upcoming training is the first step in becoming a foster parent. After training, prospective foster parents must complete a home study that consists of several interviews, a home safety inspection and required application documents. The process takes three to six months.  

Learn more at www.alabamachild.org.

To register for the training, contact Sharp at ssharp@alabamachild.org or 256-285-1022. Northbrook Baptist Church is located at 3691 Alabama Highway 157 in Cullman.

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