BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — People hoping to be foster parents are learning more about what it takes as the county and certain organization are looking for more people to fill the void and open their homes to the more than 1800 children in the foster care system in Erie County.
The process can take quite a while, up to a few months, as the services and state need to run several background checks on families and they must take classes, too.
“You need to be patient,” said Jessica Wence, the family resource specialist at Catholic Charities. “If your child was going to a different home, you’d want someone digging around this much too.”
Catholic Charities directors say the biggest need right now is for homes to place children with diverse racial and cultural backgrounds. They’re also looking for families willing to step up and provide a home for large sibling groups.
The directors says the long term benefits of being a foster family is worth it for everyone.
“It is our job to prepare foster families for challenges that come with raising a child in foster care,” said Wence. “A good foster home is willing to work in partnership with all the agencies but also work with the birth parent and make them feel supported. A good foster family would have a good connection with those parents so that everybody feels comfortable.”
The goal is to always reunite children with their families and the specialist says between 60 and 80 percent of the kids in foster care are able to be placed back home or with a loved one.
For more information on how to sign up for the October foster family information session, call Catholic Charities at (716)856-4494.