(WKBW release) Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz on Wednesday joined members of the Erie County Department of Social Services along with foster families for the 2012 Annual Foster Parent Appreciation luncheon.
According to a news release:
An annual event, this year’s luncheon theme was “Fostering Families, Fostering Change”, recognizing outstanding foster parents while encouraging the recruitment of new foster parents and the retention of current foster parents.
“Foster parents are the lifelines of the child welfare system. They are called on to care for some of the neediest children in our community,” said Poloncarz. “We are very grateful for foster parents’ special contributions in caring for abused and neglected children, but there is always a need for more. Their selfless commitment makes Erie County a better place to live.”
For children in need, the transition into foster care can be difficult, and the “Fostering Families, Fostering Change” event presented three awards to foster parents who have done an exemplary job in making that transition a smooth one. The “Above & Beyond” award was presented to Robert and Sandra Janiga; the “Caring Community Award” was given to Daniel and Tasha Krzyzanowicz; and Calvin and Elvira Northington were the recipients of the “Recruiter of the Year” award.
Erie County currently has 792 children in foster care, with 269 of these children having been legally freed from their parents for reasons of abuse or neglect. There is a particularly higher need for foster homes for teenagers, children with behavioral issues or developmental disabilities, and immigrant/refugee populations. There is also a shortage of culturally competent resources for Muslim children for both placement and respite, as this population continues to grow in Erie County.