Oswego County Public Information Office, 46 East Bridge St., Oswego, NY 13126

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March 2, 2005

DSS Hosts Informational Meeting for Prospective Foster and Adoptive Parents March 17

You answer the door. A child stands before you, flanked by a caseworker and a couple of hastily packed bags. Even the uninitiated can discern the telltale signs of fear, anger, guilt, and disillusionment. The child may have suffered the effects of abuse or neglect. For a variety of reasons, the child’s birth family cannot care for him or her at this time. No matter how many times you do this, it is never easy. You square your shoulders and prepare to give it your best. The child steps into your home needing more than you can imagine, but also needing what you can give.

Foster parents may experience many different emotions when they open their door for the first time to a new guest. However, the job of a foster parent can be a very rewarding experience.

Foster parents are needed in Oswego County to provide a safe, stable and nurturing environment for children who are temporarily unable to reside at home. Foster parents work closely with birth families, caseworkers, law guardians and other human services professionals to make it possible for children to return home when the issues leading to the placement have been addressed.

Most children are in care less than one year, according to Frances Lanigan, Commissioner of Social Services. “A diligent effort is made to reunite the child with their birth family,” said Lanigan. “If this is not possible, other options are considered, such as having the child live with relatives, or become part of a new family through adoption.”

There are 150 to 180 children in care from Oswego County at any given time. About half of the children live with certified foster families in the community. The other half live in residential or congregate care settings outside of the county, making it difficult to maintain frequent contact with their birth family and to work on the issues that lead to the placement. Trends demonstrate that the further away from home a child is placed, the longer the stay in foster care tends to be. If more homes were available, some of these children could live in homes in Oswego County.

Children who are awaiting adoption through Oswego County Department of Social Services have been in care for a period of time. The children are typically eight years of age or older and most have special needs based on their past experiences.

An informational meeting for people interested in foster and adoptive parenting will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 17, at the Oswego County Department of Social Services, Route 3 and Spring Street in Mexico. The informational meeting will help people decide if they wish to enroll the in the 11-week pre-certification training, “Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting – Group Process Selection.” The training will be offered from 6 to 9p.m. Thursday evenings March 24 through June 2. Both people in a two-parent household must attend the training in order to be certified. Single as well as two-parent families may apply to become foster or adoptive parents.

For more information, contact Nancy Clark at 598-4642 ext. 46; Carol Vincent at 963-5534; or Jean Edley at 963-5373, e-mail jean@oswegocounty.com.

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