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State: child abuse claims against foster parents were unfounded

Jamison and Erica Porter
Jamison and Erica Porter(WWNY)
Published: Nov. 12, 2021 at 5:40 PM EST
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TOWN OF WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - It wasn’t child abuse. That’s what the state now says about two foster parents after they were accused and their children taken away. Erica and Jamison Porter are still fighting to get their foster kids back.

They’ve bought a new bed for when their 7-year-old foster son comes back. A book is ready to read to their 8-year-old foster daughter again. Their own son, 2-year-old Emmitt, is ready to share his toys again.

“We were all ready to adopt these kids before DSS snatched them out of our home,” said Erica.

Now the Porters are one little step closer to their two foster children being returned. Letters from the New York State Office of Children and Family Services clear them of accusations made in calls to the state’s child abuse hotline.

The Porters say those calls were made by caseworkers retaliating against them for advocating to strongly for their kids.

“We were pretty confident it was going to be unfounded, because we’ve never maltreated any children we have had in our care.”

But it won’t be easy to be reunited with the children. That’s because the Children’s Home of Jefferson County took away their foster home certification, according to the Porters.

“We’ve asked them to basically admit that they were wrong in closing our home and recertify us,” said Erica.

They’ve gotten no answer. So they keep ready - making the bed, keeping toys straight, looking at cell phone pictures of the good times with their foster children.

The Children’s Home has provided the bulk of the casework in the Porters’ case. They do that under contract with St. Lawrence County Social Services. Both of the children are in St. Lawrence County’s care. Neither agency responded to 7 News’ requests for comment.

The Porters keep fighting. They have spent thousands of dollars and untold hours to prepare for a hearing to overturn the removal of the children. They say it’s worth it.

“Even though I’m not their biological father and Erica’s not their biological mother, they’re still our kids. No matter where they are, they’re still our kids,” said Jamison.

Day one of their hearing to reverse the removal of the children was Wednesday. They said it went well.

On Monday they’ll be back in the hearing. It’s another step.

Erica gas started a Jefferson County chapter of CHILD, an advocacy group for foster parents. That can be reached at childhelp.jefferson@gmail.com

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