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Group, Parkersburg mayor recognize foster care month

Photo Provided Meeting during a National Foster Care Month proclamation signing in Parkersburg are, from left, Megan Bower, Permanency Social Worker; Ashley Buskirk, Permanency Social Worker; Angela Hatfield, Permanency Social Worker; Jodi Null, Permanency Supervisor; Parkersburg Mayor Tom Joyce; Rachel Deem, Permanency Social Worker; Angela Whitehead, Permanency Social Worker, and Tomi Bennett, Family Aide.

PARKERSBURG — Children’s Home Society of West Virginia, a non-profit child welfare organization founded in 1896, celebrated 123 years of operation on May 4.

The mission of the Parkersburg-based agency is to promote the well-being of children. The current efforts are directed at helping children find lifetime families, protecting and nurturing children, and helping preserve and strengthen families, officials said.

Parkersburg Mayor Tom Joyce recognized May as National Foster Care Month. There are over 7,000 children living in out-of-home care in West Virginia.

Children’s Home Society receives referrals for children needing foster homes. There are not enough families available, officials said. The need for foster families continues to rise.

May is designated to raise awareness for children and youth in the community who are in need of foster care services or waiting to be adopted.

As the need continues to grow so does the Foster Care and Adoption program, officials said. Staff at Children’s Home Society work with training and recruiting families for the children in need.

Foster Care is designed primarily as a temporary service that responds to crises in the lives of children and families. Some children remain in foster care for extended periods of time and some of the foster children are ultimately adopted by their foster parents, officials said.

Children are provided with the basic needs such as food, shelter and clothing in a safe and loving environment where foster families can provide guidance and emotional support, Children’s Home Society said. Foster parents will enroll the children in school and provide opportunities for recreational activities.

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

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

For more information on foster care, call Jodi Null at 304-485-0650 or email jnull@childhswv.org. Information is also available on the website childhswv.org and the Facebook page.

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