MAYVILLE, N.Y.:— The Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is in urgent need of community members to provide foster care services for children who are temporarily unable to remain in their homes. An open house will be held on Thursday, January 19, 2017 in the Carnahan Center, room 120, of the south campus of Jamestown Community College. Anyone interested in becoming a foster parent is encouraged to stop in between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to meet DHHS staff and talk to a foster parent.
As of December 31, 2016, there were approximately 100 children in foster care in Chautauqua County, with 75 percent being placed in certified foster homes. Currently, Chautauqua County has 64 certified foster homes. These foster parents generously open their homes and hearts to children from our community who have been neglected or abused. Children in foster care may be infants through age 18 and represent all cultures. While some children may have physical or mental limitations, behavioral challenges, or special care needs, most children just need stability and kindness. When siblings come into care, it is important to maintain sibling bonds by placing them in a home together. Children in foster care, like all children, need love, affection, and guidance. Ideally, matching a family with a child’s unique needs works best for everyone involved.
To become a certified foster parent for Chautauqua County, one must be at least 21 years old; can be single, married, or living with a partner; have sufficient income to meet one’s own family’s needs and be in good health. Foster parents must be able to make room in their hearts and homes for children who need safe, temporary care. A foster parent should be someone who wants to make a difference in a child’s life, is flexible and capable of handling challenging situations, understands developmental needs of children, is trauma informed or willing to learn more about trauma, and can support and provide guidance to birth parents.
“Foster parents help make our community family friendly and keep our children healthy and safe,” said Christine Schuyler, County Commissioner of Health and Human Services. “Our foster parents can have jobs, be retired, or be stay at home parents. They work as members of a team with us, the child’s birth family, and other professionals and help prepare a child for return to his or her birth family or to be adopted and in some situations, foster parents can become adoptive parents.”
The DHHS provides those interested in becoming foster parents with Model Approach to Partnership in Parenting (MAPP) pre-service classes and guidance through the process towards certification by providing in-home consultations and ongoing training and support.
For more information, please call DHHS at 716-661-8052 (Christine Galbraith) or 716-363-3570 (Kim Gates).