Waiting in any lobby for hours can be torturous. Can you imagine how hard it is for a young child waiting in the Department of Human Services office? Embrace Oregon, as ever, has found a way to bless both the DHS and children in Oregon's foster care system. "Office Moms and Dads" is a pioneering, unprecendented, initiative that will soon launch in the tri-county area.
Office Moms and Dads, based on an exemplorary story from Wasghington state, seek to provide love and distraction to children as they wait in DHS offices. An Office Mom or Dad will arrive at a DHS office and address the children's immediate needs. Do they need clothing, school supplies, or extra hygiene products? But most importantly, the Office Moms and Dads are there to entertain with a Welcome Box, spend quality time with the children, and relieve DHS staff, who are "eager for this program to get started."
To get this fantastic program underway, Embrace Oregon has 3 steps that need to be implemented in 8 DHS offices:
- We need to identify a lead Office Mom or Dad Volunteer who is willing to be the one to receive the texts from the Child Protective Service workers that a child is being brought into the DHS office. This lead volunteer will send a group text to the list of approved volunteers. (Once a person responds that they will come, the lead Office Mom or Dad volunteer texts the volunteers name back to Child Protective Service worker).
- We need a group of at least 15 volunteers willing to go through DHS general orientation and to be “on call” for a specific DHS Child Welfare office. (Please note: “On call” does not mean blocking out a chunk of free time in your schedule. “On call” simply means being willing to receive a text and texting back “yes” or “no” as your availability that day to wait with a child in the office).
- A person or group willing to put together a bin of art supplies and activities to be used by the Office Mom or Dad when interacting with and occupying a child in the office.
Being an Office Mom or Dad can be a rewarding and exciting experience. Embrace Oregon's first ever Office Mom had this to say: "I got to sit with a 3 year old little girl who was SO sweet. So blessed to get to comfort her and play with her after removal today. So happy to get to be the first to do this!"
To learn more visit the Embrace Oregon Office Moms and Dads page. There you can contact the organization about training and volunteering, and read the PDF about exactly what an Office Mom and Dad will do. Learn more to make a tangible difference in an foster child's life!