Inouye ‘guardian angel’ for foster youth

Officials at Hale ‘Opio Kaua‘i, Inc. said they are delighted to announce that U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, D-Hawai‘i, has agreed to become an ambassador for the recruitment of adults to become foster parents, in the “A Child Needs You” campaign.

Inouye, a supporter of the work of professionals and volunteers in Hale ‘Opio’s programs for youth on the island, has been the guest speaker at a Hale ‘Opio annual meeting.

“I fully recognize the important role a parent plays in the nurturing and guiding of a child,” said Inouye.

“Foster parents fill a crucial void in the lives of a growing number of children in our communities. Please count on me to support this important work as their guardian angel,” he said.

“Right now, on our island, there is a critical need for new professional foster parents,” a Hale ‘Opio spokesperson said.

Inouye has been serving the people of Hawai‘i and the United States for over 60 years. His service began as a member of the U.S. Army 442nd Regimental Combat Team, whose motto, “Go for Broke,” describes the way members fought in World War II.

Inouye, who lost his right arm in combat, was decorated for his exceptional bravery. After completing college and receiving his law degree, Inouye was the first American of Japanese ancestry to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

During John. F. Kennedy’s presidency, Inouye was elected to the U.S. Senate, where he remains today as one of the most influential and powerful senators in the country.

Inouye recently announced that members of Congress approved legislation that will provide Hawai‘i with nearly $130.5 million for health, education, and social-service programs, and that total includes nearly $60.5 million that will directly benefit Native Hawaiians for 2006.

“Hawai‘i is indeed fortunate to have such a wonderful man representing all the people of Hawai‘i,” said Cynthia Weiss, foster-parent recruiter at Hale ‘Opio. “As an ambassador for the foster children and youth of Hawai‘i, the honorable U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye will help bring awareness to the community of the continuing need for more foster parents,” she added.

“We are humbled to have him join our efforts to find loving and nurturing homes for these innocent children,” Weiss said.

Serving Kauaians since 1975, Hale ‘Opio Kaua‘i, Inc. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to “Embracing Children and Youth Entrusted to Our Care.”

The Professional Parent Program provides safe homes and skilled professional parents for Kaua‘i’s children who are unable to stay in their homes and require treatment services.

Hale ‘Opio Kaua‘i’s Professional Parent Program differs from traditional foster care in its emphasis on professional parents who provide children in need with on-going, family-based treatment and daily opportunities for success, she explained.

Also, social workers are available to support the professional parents 24 hours per day, seven days a week.

“For those who are looking for an excellent work-at-home opportunity, Hale ‘Opio Kaua‘i, Inc.’s Professional Parent Program might be right for you,” she continued.

“In our island paradise, let’s find homes for all our keiki.”

There is a training session for professional parents starting soon. For more information on training or how to become a professional parent, call Weiss at 245-2873, or e-mail her at cweiss@haleopio.org.

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