Foster services expand to county

Photo ProvidedChampaign staff members of One Hope United pose for a photograph: Carla Bradford, Elizabeth Stonum, Karen Kietzmann, Katie Arnold, Laken Waltz and Myriam Molina.

DANVILLE — A central Illinois foster care organization has extended its services into Vermilion County, and will host an open house for potential parents.

One Hope United, a 124-year-old nonprofit human service organization, has added Vermilion, Champaign, Ford and Iroquois counties into the mix.

"Our services will be able to work with kids that have been placed within foster care and be able to get people licensed who want to become foster parents," said Foster Care Services Director Lindsey Hoover. "I'm extremely excited to be coming back to Vermilion County, because that's where I started my child welfare experience.

"I'm very familiar with the county, and the court system and the service providers in that area."

One Hope United — which also serves Missouri, Wisconsin and Florida — also sets out to find permanent homes for children in the foster system. The organization has been working in Charleston for decades from which is serves seven counties, and claims to exceed the goals set by child welfare officials in finding those permanent homes.

Now with the four-county expansion, the team is hosting an open house in Champaign for those interested in fostering to become more acquainted with them personally, with the services they provide and with the rules and qualifications the state has set up.

"The public is welcome to come and see our office, meet our staff," Hoover said. "If anyone is interested in becoming a foster parent, we can start the licensing process with them."

The meet-and-greet is scheduled for 4-6 p.m. at 1902 Fox Dr., Suite E, Champaign. Light refreshments will be served.

For those who cannot make the open house can contact One Hope United's licensing manager, Myriam Molina, at mmolina1@onehopeunited.org or call at (217) 508-6388.

To further get the word out about what the organization can do for both foster parents and foster children, employees, supporters and youth will participate in Run Mahomet Saturday, Aug. 3. Proceeds will benefit the Mahomet Area Youth Club.

"It started out last year as a good employer engagement activity," said One Hope United Vice President of Marketing Anthony Ruth. "We weren't serving the Champaign area at that time, but it was a good central location for our employees to get together.

"We're just really thrilled to get to do that again this year now as a service provider in the area."

One Hope United began as a children's home in 1895 in Chicago and has grown to serve 9,000 families a year across four states and employs 800 "passionate and talented professionals."

Some basics to become a foster parent include being older than 21 and have the financial resources to take on a child.

"But beyond that, they need to have love, compassion, patience, understanding," Hoover said. "They need to be able to open their hearts and their arms and their homes to these children that have experienced trauma, and help them navigate through that."

IF YOU GO

One Hope United's Open House is set for 4-6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 2, 2019, at 1902 Fox Dr., Suite E, Champaign. Visit www.onehopeunited.org.