Local parents honored as part of National Foster Care Month

2015 Foster Care MonthThe following column was submitted by Marion County Children Services
All children deserve a safe, happy life — including the nearly 510,000 American youth in foster care. Young people in foster care especially need nurturing adults on their side because their own families are in crisis and unable to care for them.

Each May, we salute the compassionate people who make a difference by serving as foster parents, relative caregivers, mentors, advocates, social workers, and volunteers. Thanks to these unsung heroes, many formerly abused or neglected children and teens will either safely reunite with their parents, be cared for by relatives, or be adopted by loving families.

But some children in foster care are less fortunate. Most communities across the country are urgently seeking more everyday people to help these youth overcome their troubled childhoods and realize their full potential. No matter what their age, every young person in foster care benefits from a meaningful connection to a caring adult who becomes a supportive and lasting presence in his or her life.

The number and diversity of people who were once in foster care might surprise you. In fact, there are an estimated 18 million foster care alumni in the U.S. representing all walks of life.  Behind this startling statistic are countless stories of children who grew up to be thriving adults while others struggled with life’s challenges all alone. The difference between triumph and tragedy is very clear. Success stories come about when someone takes the time to offer comfort, provide support, give advice, or simply share a milestone moment with a youngster enduring a difficult family situation.

In Marion County there are 115 children in out-of-home care. 59 of these children are in agency custody and placed in foster care or treatment facilities, while the other 56 are in kinship care placements with family members or friends.

John & Lora Kibler

John & Lora Kibler

As part of the Foster Care Month celebration, the Marion County Commissioners proclaimed May as National Foster Care Month during their meeting on Thursday, May 7, 2015. Placement Caseworker, Harry Simmons spoke briefly, explaining the important job that foster parents do each and every day.  Expressing that “they are exceptional people doing extraordinary work with children.” Simmons then introduced two exceptional Treatment Licensed foster parents with Marion County, John & Lora Kibler.

John thanked the Commissioners for the proclamation and the agency for their exceptional support from the Director, Jacque Ringer, Placement Supervisor, Cheryl Bowers to Ongoing and Placement Support Staff, Harry Simmons, Toni Fisher, Amy Haslet and Francis Hernandez. John sharing that their work was a product of the dedication and support Marion County staff provides to them and the children of Marion County.  John in closing invited the County Commissioners to Marion County Children Services Annual Foster Family Picnic being held on May 21, 2015 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Marion County Children Services.

This month we would like to recognize and thank the numerous kinship providers and the 32 licensed foster families in Marion County and encourage others to consider doing the same, because the foster care “system” is only as good as those who choose to be part of it.

No matter how much time you have to give, you have the power to do something positive that will “Change a Lifetime” for a young person in foster care.

For more information on how you can help, visit www.marionkids.com or call Marion County Children Services at 740-389-2317 today.

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