Social services play a vital role in communities across the country, helping place children into temporary or longer-term living situations when the need arises. The Charles County Department of Social Services supports children and families in our local community, and for this week’s Friday Focus, we spoke with Claudelle Clarke-Parchment, the Department’s Tri-County Resource Recruiter and Trainer, who shared how foster parents make such a large difference in the lives of children.
Q: Tell us about your organization (who you serve, what you do, etc.)
A: The Charles County Department of Social Services (CCDSS) works to address and meet the needs of low income and vulnerable individuals through service provision, referral and community collaboration. CCDSS is able to accomplish this feat though our core values, which are as follows:
- We respect the value, confidentiality, dignity and differences of our customers and ourselves.
- We will measure outcomes and hold ourselves accountable for results.
- It is essential for our customers to be economically independent, self-sufficient and live in permanent settings.
- We commit to collaboration and partnership with other community organizations and businesses that are essential to excellent customer service.
- We will continue to employ, train, recognize, reward and retain a competent work force.
- We will continue to provide a safe, secure work environment for staff, customers and visitors.
Q: What is your favorite “moment” (example of how your organization helped)?
A: There are many memorable moments at CCDSS, however the most memorable are working with the resource parents (formerly known as foster parents) and seeing resource parents leave an indelible mark on the lives of the children that they work with over the years. It is also empowering to see those very children blossom into young people who are making an impact on the world through their jobs, their conversations with prospective resource parents and their willingness to give unselfishly to others.
Q: What is your biggest challenge?
A: The biggest challenge CCDSS face is finding resource parents. We need to find more innovative ways by using technology to launch our message about the need for foster parents. Additionally, we often lose our current resource parents to successful adoptions, relocations and family changes. This rate of attrition contributes largely to the continuous need for resource parents to stand in the gap. Shortage of resource parents results in children being displaced from their communities, their friends and losing attachment to everything that is important to them. These disruptions also create undue stress and trauma for the children. Despite our best efforts, we are unable to keep up with the number of children who are entering care and finding appropriate placements for these children.
Q: Are there any upcoming events?
A: The upcoming events are as follows:
June 22 - Training on Child Abuse and Neglect
July 1 - August 26 - PRIDE Training
July 30 - Meet and Greet/Ice Cream Social
Q: How can people get involved with your organization?
A: Community members who are interested in being foster parents can contact Claudelle Clarke-Parchment, Tri-County Recruiter and Trainer at 301-392-6727 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am looking forward to discussing how best CCDSS can partner with them to meet the needs of the children in foster care.