By Robert Stoneback
The Danville News
DANVILLE — Susquehanna Valley’s 25 to 30 foster children now have a new, online resource to connect with similar kids around the country.
In time for National Foster Care Awareness Month this May, KidsPeace has launched www.TeenCentral.net/fostercare, which provides information, peer support, games and counseling services for foster children aged 11 to 18.
“Foster care children often feel alienated at home and at school, and need a place where people will understand them and their issues,” said Dr. Julius Licata, director of TeenCentral.Net. “What makes our new foster care portal so unique is children can share their questions and concerns and they will get an answer in 24 hours from a master’s or doctorate level counselor. There are no other teen sites offering timely responses from professional counselors who also are familiar with the myriad of foster care issues.”
The new site is free to sign up for and users are anonymous, identified only by a user name.
There are about 25 to 30 children in foster homes at any given time in the Susquehanna Valley region, according to George Adams, head of the Danville KidsPeace office. His office provides services for foster families in nearby counties including Montour, Northumberland, Snyder and Columbia.
“In most cases, the goal is to reunite the child with the family of origin,” said Adams. This is accomplished by having case workers regularly visit children in foster homes to ensure they are being well treated and to have the biological parents meet whatever requirements, such as parenting classes, are needed to be reunited with their children.
A court must first approve a child and parent being brought back together before they can live together again.
“I would say, by far the majority of children placed in foster care do indeed go back to their biological families,” said Adams. Should it not be possible to reunite a child with their biological parents, KidsPeace will provide adoption services.
“One of the keys of effective foster care is finding a good match between the child and family,” said Adams, and KidsPeace is always looking for more adults to volunteer for foster services.
An eligible foster parent must meet a certain set of requirements determined by the Department of Public Welfare, including being at least 21 years of age and not having a record of child abuse. They must also be interviewed and be given basic training in foster care.
Foster parents also have final say in what types of kids the want to foster, such as only caring for young children, teenagers or those with special medical needs.
“There’s always a need for foster parents,” said Adams.
Interested adults can call 800-876-0590 or go to www.FosterCare.com.
Email questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.