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Monday, December 22, 2014



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“Chemung County Celebrates National Foster Care Month”

Elmira- May is National Foster Care Month, a time to call attention to the needs of the over half a million American children and youth in foster care.  In Chemung County we have approximately 170 children living in foster care. 

Foster Care Month also honors the 170,000 foster families across the nation for providing safe, stable and supportive homes for children and young adults who are temporarily unable to live with their birth families.  Chemung County Executive Tom Santulli has proclaimed May “Foster Parent Recognition Month in Chemung County” to honor the foster families in our county for their dedication, love, protection and understanding they provide to our children.

The Chemung County Department of Social Services will be holding the 9th Annual Foster Parent Banquet to honor these families.  During the dinner the “McDonough Award” and the “Lifesaver Awards” will be presented to foster parents who have excelled in their foster parenting roles.  “All of our foster parents are special people.   Every May we take this opportunity to thank them for all the love, support and encouragement they give to the children in their care. Foster families not only care for the children but partner with their families, DSS and community agencies to establish permanency for the children as soon as possible. Many children and their families maintain relationships with foster families long after the children return to their parents’ home. They all deserve special recognition,” said Deretha Watterson, Chemung County Director of Children and Family Services.

The County is always seeking caring and compassionate families, and individuals, to foster infants, young children, adolescents, sibling groups or parenting teens, as well as children with special needs.  Foster parents are provided pre-certification and on-going training, financial and medical support to meet the needs of the child, 24-hour emergency services, caseworker support for the foster family and the child, and a foster parent support group.  “Recruitment for foster and adoptive families is an ongoing process,” said Mindy Banfield, Supervisor of the Adoption/Homefinding Unit. “We hold information and orientation activities every month.  In addition to regular foster homes we are also recruiting for emergency foster homes.  Emergency homes are usually available for placements 24 hours a day and provide a temporary home until a more permanent placement can be found.”

If you would like to learn more about how you can “Change a Lifetime” for a child in foster care call the Chemung County Department of Social Services at 737-5557.  You can also speak with representatives from DSS at the orientation session on May 15th at 5:00 p.m. at the Department of Social Services offices located at 425 Pennsylvania Avenue in Elmira. 

If you would like more information on foster parenting or adoption call the DSS offices at 737-5557.

Click here to view the "Foster Parent Recognition in Chemung County" Proclamation.

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