Deb Richards (left) and Suzanne Shibley at the Newport District Office of Family Services. The area is badly in need of foster homes. Photo by Tena Starr
copyright the Chronicle March 11, 2015
by Tena Starr
NEWPORT — Erica Page always thought she was meant to be a foster parent. After years of unsuccessfully trying to have children of their own, she finally told her husband, Shaun Sykes, “Enough is enough. Let’s become parents in a different way.”
In May, Ms. Page and Mr. Sykes got their first placement, a boy, who is now four. They also have a four-month-old girl in their home.
Kathy White of Barton has been a guardian ad litem for nearly eight years and says it’s a rewarding experience. Photo by Tena Starr
copyright the Chronicle July 2, 2014
by Tena Starr
BARTON — Nearly eight years ago, Kathy White of Barton decided she’d like to “pay it forward,” as she put it. “I wanted to find something I could do that had meaning,” she said in a recent interview.
That desire led her to become a guardian ad litem, or a GAL, a person who volunteers his or her time to represent the interests of “children in need of care or supervision” (CHINS).
That could involve anything from a nasty divorce to a situation where a family can’t properly care for a child anymore. The Guardian Ad Litem Program’s mission statements says its goal is to make sure that children and their families receive “appropriate services in a timely manner; that case plans and court decisions are based on the child’s best interests; and every child has a safe, stable and permanent home within a reasonable period of time.”