Guam – This month is National Foster Care Parent Month, and in celebration of the month, foster parents, and other stakeholders were given a seat before the legislature to breakdown how the foster care system works.
Child Protective Services falls under the Bureau of Social Services Administration (BOSSA) of the Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS). The section is charged with investigating allegations of child neglect and abuse.
Linda Rodriguez, DPHSS administrator, said that CPS is not there to take children away from their families instead they are there to make sure that children are in a stable and loving home environment as some parents are not able to provide for a child’s needs.
When a child is removed from a home, that child is placed in a foster home, but there is a problem.
Right now, there are 269 foster children on the island, and according to Rodriguez, there are only 37 licensed foster homes. While there are some children under the physical custody of their parents legally, they are still wards of the state.
Rodriguez said there are cases where the parents are working toward reunification and are monitored for about three to six months before a recommendation is made to the courts to reunite the children with their family.
Unfortunately, she said that some parents do not abide by the case plan, and permanent homes must be found for the children.
But finding a home is hard as Rodriguez stressed there is a lack of foster homes.
Because of this, the department is always looking for foster homes.
If you meet the requirements and are interested in opening up your home to a child in need an application to become a foster parent is available on the DPHSS website.