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Panel Discussion of Crucial Need for Foster Families

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Monday, May 20, 2019by kenna.kj

Panel Discussion of Crucial Need for Foster Families

Learn more about the crucial need for local foster families Monday, May 20, 2019, at 6 p.m. in the Workman Room in the Suzette Brumleve Memorial Effingham Public Library.

Local child advocates Valerie Pike, DCFS Foster Family Parent Support Specialist, Jennifer Pummill, CASA Volunteer Coordinator, DeDe McElravy, CASA Case Manager, Judy Bierman, RN Coordinator for Healthworks of Effingham County and Dana Hakman, Foster Parent will provide their perspectives and explain how foster families fill a critical need in our community. Jesse Patnaude, Executive Director with CASA of Effingham County explained the need in April: “24 new children have entered foster care in Effingham County so far in 2019. Typically, our Effingham CASA program serves 24 new children each year.” Throughout the United States there are more children who need foster care, and not enough families to provide it.

The number of children entering foster care increased every year from 2013 to 2016, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Meanwhile, at least half the states in the United States saw a decrease in the number of available foster homes, according to a 2017 investigative project by the Chronicle of Social Change. Every year, thousands of foster families across Illinois provide a temporary safe haven for children who have been placed in DCFS care by local courts. DCFS strives to reunite children with their birth families, and nearly half of all foster children are reunified with their families within 12 months. When reunification simply is not possible, as determined by the courts, many foster families choose to adopt the children they have cared for.

Valerie Pike, DCFS Foster Family Parent Support Specialist, shared: “Like the Starfish Story, there always seems to be more we can be doing for children in our community. Make plans to come and learn more about how you can affect positive change for a child in our community.”