Whether for a short time or an extended period, foster family care gives the child's own family the opportunity to direct their energies to issues that affect their ability to care for their child. The Bucks County Children and Youth Social Services Agency provides child protection services to children and families and foster care for children whose families are unable to care for them. Foster homes are needed where the children can identify culturally and ethnically with their caregivers. The children are counting on you. You can make a difference.
Shantelle J. Gammon Talks with Bucks County Conversations
In this episode of Bucks County Conversations, we talk about Buck County’s Foster Parent and Volunteer Program. The Bucks County Children and Youth Social Services Agency currently has close to 200 children in its foster care system, which depends on dedicated caseworkers, as well as adults and volunteers who help to make a difference in the lives of children. Shantelle Gammon, Foster Parent and Volunteer Recruiter for Bucks County C&Y, breaks down the process of getting involved and explains just how important it is for kids to realize that they're not alone.
Benefits of Fostering
Share your love with a child. For every challenge, there is a reward, and foster parenting has some very compelling rewards:
- You contribute directly to a child's growth and success
- You give love and guidance to a child and his/her family
- You help the community as a responsible and caring citizen
- You play a major role in helping a child in his/her family in time of need
Foster Parenting is the Ultimate Challenge
It is welcoming a child into your home and preparing the child to eventually return to his/her own family. Children who need foster care families come from all backgrounds. They include infants and adolescents of all races and religions. Often they come in sibling groups, that is, with their brothers and sisters. These children have a multitude of needs. Reasons for separating them from their family include:
- The child's emotional or behavioral needs are not being met by the parent
- Incarceration of a parent
- Neglect or abandonment
- Parental dependency on drugs and/or alcohol
- Physical or sexual abuse
- Physical/mental illness of a parent
- Severe parent-child conflict
Make a Difference
Foster families receive support for the foster child:
- Caseworker services
- Financial support
- Free membership in the Bucks County Foster Parent Association
- Medical assistance
Foster Parent to Youth 12 & Older
Change the course in a young person's life and consider becoming a foster parent for youth ages 12 and up. Of the 370 children and youth in the custody of the Bucks County Children and Youth Social Services Agency, one-third of them are placed outside of the County of Bucks. The agency is working vigorously to keep Bucks County youth in Bucks County. To that end, the Bucks County Children and Youth Social Services Agency is actively seeking Bucks County residents to provide a foster/resource family connection for one or more of these young individuals, in particular youth ages 12 and up. Adolescents, who are unable to stay in the physical custody of their legal parents, do best when placed in a family home rather than a group or institutional setting. By staying in their own community, they can continue to maintain close contact with family and friends, and possibly attend their same school. Rewards of foster parenting this age group include a sense of accomplishment, preparing an adolescent for independence, helping youth feel good about themselves and an opportunity to make a difference in the life of a youth.
How to Become a Foster Parent
If you are interested in learning more about becoming a foster parent for Bucks County Children and Youth Social Services, please email Shantelle J. Gammon or call 215-348-6922 with your interest, telephone number, and address. She will schedule a personal in-home orientation to answer questions and explain the application process. Again, thank you for your interest in wanting to provide a temporary home for a Bucks County child in need.
Contact the following resources from Monday through Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm for more information on becoming a foster parent:
- Information on Foster Parenting or Volunteering: 215-348-6922
- Toll-Free resource number: 888-942-8257
- Comcast Newsmakers - Foster Care Parent Recruitment with Shantelle Gammon
- Comcast Newsmakers - The Need for Foster Parents with Roxanne Watkins Hall (WMV)
- Comcast Newsmakers - Working to Increase the Number of Foster Families in Bucks County (WMV)
- Comcast Newsmakers Special as Alissa Garrison, Foster Parent with Bucks County Children and Youth Social Services Agency (WMV)
- Listen to Roxanne Watkins Hall on WMMR (MP3)
- Do I have to live in Bucks County to become a foster parent?
- If I am a Bucks County foster parent, will I get children placed in my home from other counties?
- What kind of training do I need to become a foster parent?
- Does the child need to have his/her own bedroom?
- Do I need to be married to become a foster parent?