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DHR needs help answering wishes

The Chilton County Department of Human Resources is seeking sponsors to help check off the Christmas wish list of foster children in the county.

Although the state does provide for the essential living needs of foster children and the foster parents who watch over them, it does not provide the funding for things such as gifts at Christmas.

That is where the community comes in and can play a role in making sure the county’s foster children have the opportunity to have their Christmas wishes come true.

According to DHR Director Marilyn Colson, the people of Chilton County have always come through to overwhelmingly support the effort.

“We want to make Christmas as special and magical for our foster children as it is for children who will be able to spend the holiday with their own families,” Colson said. “The community has been very responsive in sponsoring many of the foster children this Christmas. However, there are a number of teenagers who have yet to be sponsored. Almost all of our little ones have been taken care of, but of course the ‘wishes’ of teens are more expensive.”

The agency has experienced a significant increase in the number of foster children for the second year in a row.

Lawson Chancellor relaxes after helping his mother Bethanie, a DHR intake worker, in preparation for the 2018 Foster Children’s Christmas Party. (Contributed photo)

According to Colson, the number of foster children has increased from 125 a year ago to 150 this year.

A DHR press release stated that the increase is primarily due to caregivers not being able to care for children due to illegal drug use.

Colson explained that more than 67, or 48%, of the foster children did achieve permanency in the last year either through retuning home, being placed with relatives or by being adopted.

Fifteen children were adopted by their foster parents in 2018.

The deadline to donate gifts is Dec. 13.

Those who would like to participate in the Christmas wishes project can do so by sponsoring the wishes of a specific child or making a financial donation to the Foster Children’s Fund and DHR can shop for you. The donations will only be used to fill the needs of the foster children.

To sponsor a child, call DHR at 205-280-2000 or email marilyn.colson2@dhr.alabama.gov.

To mail a contribution, make a check payable to the Foster Children’s Fund at DHR and send it to P.O. Box 1699, Clanton, AL 35046 or bring the contribution to the agency’s office located on Airport Road next to the National Guard Armory.