Mayor Newell recognizes May as Foster Care Month

PARKERSBURG – Weekly, the Children’s Home Society of West Virginia receives referrals for children needing foster homes and there are not enough families available.

May is National Foster Care Month. Parkersburg Mayor Bob Newell signed a proclamation Friday recognizing the observance.

“We are happy to do anything we can do to help,” Newell said noting he often saw the need for foster homes from the time he was in law enforcement and today in his work with area local social service agencies and organizations.

More than 4,500 children are in foster care in West Virginia and the need keeps growing, said Carna Metheney-White, child and family service supervisor with the Children’s Home Society of West Virginia in Parkersburg. Twenty-two families are in foster care and adoption and 27 children are in care, she said.

“We get referrals on a weekly basis for kids who need foster homes, and there just aren’t enough to go around,” she said.

The agency tries to keep children in their home county, but they can end up out of the area if there aren’t enough foster homes, she said.

Staff at the Children’s Home Society works with training and finding families for the children in need.

As part of the month’s activities, there will be informational booths on foster parenting at area businesses and recognition and appreciation activities and events for the children and foster parents.

“The need is great. There is nothing greater than to open your heart and your home to a child in need and play a part in their life. It is such a rewarding opportunity,” Metheney-White said.

Foster care is a planned, goal-directed service for children who cannot live with their birth families for some period of time. Foster care is designed primarily as a temporary service that responds to crises in the lives of children and families. Some children, however, remain in foster care for extended periods of time, and some of the foster children are ultimately adopted by their foster parents.

Children are provided with the basic needs such as food, shelter and clothing in a safe environment and the foster parents provide love, guidance, emotional support and discipline.

Foster parents will enroll the child in school and provide opportunities for recreational activities.

Foster parents must be at least 21 and have a steady source of income, be in good physical and emotional health, meet state licensing requirements for housing, safety and space and have a high school diploma or GED.

An application process requires a background check and a home assessment. Training is provided through the Children’s Home Society.

For more information on foster parenting, call Metheney-White, at 304-485-0650 or email Information also is available at the Children’s Home website,