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Foster parents speak out after lawmakers’ show of support

Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 5:01 PM EST
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TOWN OF WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - A Jefferson County couple gained a new ally in their fight to bring home foster kids removed earlier this year.

Erica and Jamison Porter have mixed emotions after getting the support of Jefferson County lawmakers. They say it gives them relief, but at the same time, it’s hard to be optimistic with such a drawn out battle.

“I’ll be honest, over the past several months, I’ve lost all confidence in our system to do the right thing,” said Erica.

The Porters have been going back and forth with multiple agencies after St. Lawrence County Department of Social Services removed two foster kids from their care in August.

“I think that there are certain St. Lawrence County case workers that are mad at us. They’re upset with us for calling them out on not doing their jobs and failing to protect the kids,” said Erica.

The Porters now have Jefferson County legislators in their corner. Lawmakers plan to send letters supporting the town of Watertown couple to St. Lawrence and Jefferson counties’ DSS, and to the Children’s Home of Jefferson County.

“The issue with the Porter family and the foster kids that they have, especially around Christmas time, is very emotional to a lot of us on the board,” said District 11 Legislator Robert Ferris.

The Porters say after the children were removed, Jefferson County DSS investigated allegations against them and determined the couple was emotionally abusive to the kids.

That determination has since been overturned by the state.

“The fact that the state overturned it without even looking to schedule a hearing, that’s kind of a big red flag that Jefferson County did something wrong,” said Erica.

The Porters’ end goal is to adopt both foster kids taken from the home, along with their two siblings.

But, they say the Children’s Home of Jefferson County revoked the couple’s foster home certification.

Erica says that has to be reversed if they want to bring the children in. County lawmakers can’t force that to happen, but the Porters are still relieved to have any help.

“It’s been months now that we’ve been trying to get people’s support and get people to fix this wrong,” said Erica.

7 News reached out to the agencies involved. St. Lawrence County DSS declined to comment. We didn’t hear back from Jefferson County DSS or from the Children’s Home.

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