Foster parents needed

Published: Aug. 7, 2023 at 5:25 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - The Children’s Home of Jefferson County is in search of people willing and able to become foster parents.

“When we don’t have enough foster homes, which is kind of where we’re at right now, we have to look at how we can meet the needs of that youth,” said Megan Badour, foster care manager.

Sometimes meeting the needs of youth means moving them away from their families to other counties where foster parents are available.

“We’ve just taken them from their parents and everything that they know. When we have to transition them into a new school district, it’s meeting all new friends, again new providers, new mental health services. That disruption, after they’ve built those bonds with providers, is extremely detrimental to youth,” said Badour.

The Children’s Home of Jefferson County isn’t alone in searching for foster parents. So is the rest of New York.

“I hear that story everywhere in the state. I mean, I would find it extraordinary if some place said, ‘We don’t have this problem,’ because then I would want to go there and find out what they do,” said Pat O’Brien, Executive Director, Adoptive and Foster Family Coalition.

He says the first place to look is closest to the children.

“The friends, the family, the other people in that child’s community who knows the child,” he said.

Badour says the Children’s Home of Jefferson County is attempting to do kinship placements. That’s placing children with people they are already familiar with, like a family member or even a baseball coach.

“The requirements for kinship are the same as if you were a typical foster family. We’re able to expedite the process, if you will, with kin, but the requirements are the same,” said Bador.

Those interested are required to complete a certification program with training once a week for ten weeks. The program is free and starts in September.