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Hansen selected as 2011 Foster Parent

StarDem

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

EASTON Talbot County Department of Social Services named Audrey Hansen of Easton the 2011 Foster Parent of the Year.

Although Hansen has only been a foster parent since September 2010, she has played an important role in providing short term emergency and weekend respite care for children of all ages in Talbot County.

“In the short time she has been a foster parent, Audrey has never said ‘no’ when we have asked her to take a child,” said Susan Merriken, Foster Care and Adoption supervisor. “She has been a vital part of our foster care team in providing children in Talbot County safe environments in times of need.”

Hansen, who works full-time with the Maryland Department of the Environment, does not have children of her own.

“I always wondered about doing foster care because I have always loved kids, including my nieces and nephews,” Hansen said. “I didn’t think I could do foster care and work full-time. I found out differently after taking the Department of Social Services Parent Resources for Information, Development and Education (P.R.I.D.E.) parent training program for foster and adoptive parents.”

She credits the supportive staff at the Talbot County Department of Social Services, the Talbot County Public Schools and the YMCA of the Chesapeake, Easton, with making her job as a foster parent successful. “I learned that there are many support systems available to help foster parents who work, including before school and afterschool care in Talbot County.”

Although Hansen started with teenagers, she has had children of all ages.

“I love giving these children a safe and happy place to stay, where they may gain a sense of normalcy they may never have had before,” she said.

Hansen said the children she has fostered are respectful and a delight to have around, which is often not the perception of the community.

“These children just want to know someone cares,” Hansen said. “It has been the most rewarding thing I have ever done. I am able to give back to the community by keeping these children in the community they know, which is one of the most important aspects of being a foster parent.”

For information about becoming a licensed foster or adoptive parent, contact the Talbot County Department of Social Services at 410-770-4848 or attend the regional information session for prospective foster/adoptive parents from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 21, at the Talbot County Department of Social Services at 301 Bay St., Unit #5 in Easton. The next nine-week P.R.I.D.E. Training at the Talbot County Department of Social Services begins Wednesday, July 6. It is held from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Filed in: In the Press, Local News, Talbot County

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