Local family shares their experience with foster care, adoptionLast updated: August 16. 2014 10:36PM - 3869 Views
Ceil Bartolai, social service coordinator for Luzerne County Children and Youth Services, provided some basic information about foster parenting — also called resource parenting — and adoption.
Q. Who can become a foster parent?
A. Anyone 21 or older who is “willing to open up about their lives and share their biography,” can provide an adequate and safe dwelling for a child, has sufficient and stable income and can pass required background checks, can become a foster parent. “For the most part, they just need to be able to open up their home and love a child. We're not looking for perfect, we're looking for love,” Bartolai said.
Q. Do I have to be married?
A. No. Single adults can become foster and/or adoptive parents.
Q. Is there financial assistance available for foster parents?
A. Yes, a $24-per-day stipend is available for each child placed into foster care, regardless of other income, and Children and Youth Services pays for clothing, medical and dental needs. A permanent stipend is available after adoption for children who fall into certain categories, such as older teens, children of mixed race and multiple-sibling adoptions.
Q. Does foster care always result in adoption?
A. No. Many times, children are reunited with their parent(s) or are permanently placed with a family member or relative.
Q. When can the adoption process begin for a foster parent?
A. Adoption can begin after the termination of parental rights has occurred, either voluntarily or involuntarily, which can take 15 to 22 months from initial placement of a child into foster care. Children and Youth handles the termination process.
Q. Where can I learn more and have additional questions answered?
A. There are several resources available:
• Call Luzerne County Children and Youth Services at 570-826-8710 and/or visit www.cysluzerne.org and click on the Resources link.
• Call Catholic Social services at 1-800-465-0578 or 570-455-1521 and/or visit www.cssdioceseofscranton.org.
• Call the Statewide Adoption Network at 1-800-585-SWAN and/or visit www.adoptpakids.org.
• Call the Families United Network at 1-800-677-9771 and/or visit www.families4kids.org.
• Call Loftus-Vergari and Associates at 570-822-9706 and/or visit www.loftus-vergari.com.
• Call the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption at 1-800-ASK-DTFA and/or visit www.davethomasfoundation.org.
• Call Lorine Ogurkis at 570-926-5117 or find her on Facebook under Lori Angelo Ogurkis.