WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- More than 600 children are in foster care in Westchester and nearly half of them are teens looking for new homes, according to the United Way.
United Way's 2-1-1 program, Family Ties of Westchester and Westchester County Department of Social Services are looking for families interested in providing homes for the more than 300 teens in foster care. The three groups are joining to make finding permanent homes for the teens a priority. Interested families are invited to attend an informational orientation held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the first and third Wednesday of every month in White Plains. RSVP is required to United Way’s 2-1-1 by calling 211 from a cell phone or landline.
"These youth need the support of a family and a connection that enables them to move into adulthood with the parental support most of us take for granted," representatives said in a release.
“People may not realize that older children in the foster care system are often afraid of their future prospects,” said Naomi Adler, CEO and President of United Way of Westchester and Putnam. “Foster parents who take an older child into their home can make a dramatic difference in the life of a teen and help guide them on the path to success in adulthood.”
County Executive Rob Astorino agreed.
“Providing a safe and nurturing home is the first step towards making a lasting difference in a young person’s life,” said Astorino. “Families in Westchester have so much to offer our youth, especially a young teen in need.”
United Way’s 2-1-1 call specialists are available to help prospective parents determine if they have the basic eligibility to become a foster parent or to adopt a foster teenager.
“You don’t have to be perfect to be a foster or adoptive parent, and foster and adoptive families come in many different sizes, configurations and personalities,” said Betty Mutschler, Associate Executive Director of Family Ties. “We give people the training, tools and support that they need to be successful parents and family members.”
Those who are interested in becoming foster parents are asked to call United Way’s 2-1-1 by dialing 211 from a landline or cell phone. The free, confidential helpline is available from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week, in more than 250 languages.
Residents can also visit the United Way of Westchester and Putnam website.