Mesa County seeks foster parents with medical backgrounds

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT/KKCO) -- There is a constant need for families willing to open their homes to foster children.

Last year in Mesa County there were 815 children in foster care.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, foster kids often face serious physical, mental, and developmental problems; about 40 babies born in our area every year are drug exposed.

That's why the county is reaching out to doctors, nurses, and others with medical backgrounds, asking them to become foster parents.

Some have already answered the call.

Heather is a nurse. Her husband is a doctor.

“It’s been a wonderful and magical experience for us.” She said. “It’s something that we can do, just give a little of ourselves just to make somebody’s life that much better.”

Their family has been fostering for about a year, and already have found their medical backgrounds useful in identifying health problems in the children they've taken care of.

“It’s been really amazing in helping our family get closer together. Maybe that’s a medical thing too, where there’s something in front of you and it’s challenging you and you want to get to the bottom of it.”

Doctors and nurses have notoriously packed schedules, but Heather said there are ways to make it work.

“I think that if you reflect on the skills that you have, I think that you likely could come to the realization that you really do have more to offer than other people who aren’t ready to receive people who might be medically challenged.” She explained.

Respite foster parents are one of those ways.

Steve and his wife Margo care for foster kids on a short term basis. Watching the children (for no more than a week at a time) when their guardians need a break.

"It's been wonderful," Margo said, “These children are our future, and they’re going to be our neighbors for a long time.”

Steve is a doctor.

Margo said her husband's medical background has made them more comfortable caring for children with health issues, but she also explained: "The number one prerequisite it just to love children and want to help our community.”

If you are interested in becoming a foster parent in Mesa County, contact the Department of Human Services at (970)248-2794 or email FosterCare@MesaCounty.us.