Director Moira Weir
We are constantly on the search for new foster families, as well as adoptive families.
The two work hand in hand. About 70 percent of our adoptions are by foster families. These are people who have come to know and love the children in their care, and they want to make it a permanent arrangement once the court decides the child cannot be safely returned home. The best way to keep our adoption pipeline full is to have plenty of foster parents.
We need foster parents for other reasons, too. We like to keep sibling sets together whenever possible. That means we need foster homes willing to take multiple children, even 7 or more at a time. We also want to keep our children local, so they can maintain the same neighborhood, school, friends, etc. To do this, we need local foster families.
A local agency we contract with for foster parent services, Child Focus, is organizing an effort to raise awareness about foster parenting and to increase the pool of local foster parents. Working with Cincinnati City Councilman Charlie Winburn, the organization plans to unite other agencies to participate in the awareness campaign. We, too, are happy to join.
The campaign plans billboards, radio ads, news media stories and more. Councilman Winburn is organizing a day at City Hall on Oct. 26 to bring visibility to the effort.
Many of you will remember we did something similar in 2007, with our Everyday Heroes Collaborative. That resulted in a huge financial commitment from the business community, some memorable TV and radio commercials, a local TV telethon, neighborhood canvasses by an army of volunteers dressed in Everyday Heroes T-shirts, an organized recruitment effort from the faith community and a slew of news stories. Most importantly, it resulted in nearly 100 new foster families.
I often get asked how long our waiting list for foster children is. Surprisingly, despite needing homes for more than 900 children on any given day, we do not have a waiting list. We are able to find a home for each child who needs one, within each day.
But that does not mean we do not have a need. We may be forced to place those children in another county. At this time, 37 percent of our foster children are in homes outside of Hamilton County. We also may have to place a couple siblings in one home and a couple of others in another home. These are not optimal answers. Our main goal is to keep families together and within the same schools. This minimizes the disruptions in their lives.
So there may not always be a waiting list, but there is always a need. More foster parents would be extremely beneficial to our agency and to the children we serve.
We are very hopeful the community will rally around this campaign.