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

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August 18, 2017

Learn about the 10-week course at Sept. 3 orientation meeting -

Foster Parent Training Course Begins Sept. 13

MEXICO - The Foster-Adoptive Parent Recruitment Team of the Oswego County Department of Social Services (DSS) will offer its next 10-week foster parent training class beginning Wednesday, Sept. 13. Classes will be held Wednesday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m. at the DSS office, 100 Spring St., Mexico.

The agency is searching for caring, compassionate people to provide shelter for dozens of children in foster care. As a pre-requisite to the 10-week class, people who are thinking about becoming a foster or adoptive parent should attend one of DSS's monthly informational meetings for an overview of the process of becoming a foster or adoptive parent.

The next informational meeting will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 5, at the DSS office.

"The responsibility of caring for someone else's child may seem overwhelming at first," said Patty Pennock, a senior caseworker at Oswego County DSS. "However, as applicants learn more about the support services available and how the foster parent role has changed in recent years, they will gain a new perspective about how important this program is."

The 30-hour foster parent training course is offered twice a year and takes approximately three months to complete. While some classes cover child behavior management, the primary focus of the program is to give the applicant an opportunity for complete self-evaluation before continuing the process.

DSS Commissioner Stacy Alvord said there is always a need for more foster parents in Oswego County. As many as 60 children may be in foster care at any given time.

"Less than half of the teens in care have the option of residing in a local foster home," said Alvord. "As a result, they are placed in foster, group or other types of homes and residential facilities outside the county. It is essential that we are able to provide them with a safe, stable environment in Oswego County."

Couples and single people over the age of 21 who meet New York State's basic requirements for approval may apply to the foster parent program. Applicants must show adequate income to support their own family, suitable sleeping and living space to accommodate foster children, and access to reliable transportation. They must also provide a physician's statement, personal and employer references, and submit to background checks.

After completing the classes, the prospective foster family receives a caseworker evaluation in which their application, references and clearances are all checked. They also participate in a "home study," which includes a home visit and interviews with each family member to put together a comprehensive assessment of the family home.

The ongoing process continues with caseworker evaluations during twice monthly visits after child placement, and six-hour refresher classes and re-certification every year. For more information about becoming a foster care parent and helping a child in need, contact Patty Pennock at 315-963-5382 or patricia.pennock@dfa.state.ny.us.

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