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Foster Care homes needed in Blair County

Do you believe children deserve the chance to experience successful living in a home environment?
There are many children across the nation that does not live in a home environment that many of us grew up in. Likewise, there are plenty of children in Blair County that are lacking that same environment with contact in the community and its schools.
Canal Ways Center in Hollidaysburg is an agency that is in need for proper foster care homes for the children without in Blair County. Canal Ways provides two programs: Therapeutic Family Care and Foster Care Plus.
The difference between Therapeutic Family Care and Foster Care Plus Programs lies in the intensity of treatment and services provided to the child. Children in the Therapeutic Family Care Program require a broader range of services and one parent must be available at all times. Also reimbursement rates requirements and training curriculum differs between programs.
The children referred to Canal Ways are referred by the likes of Mental Health agencies, Children and Youth agencies, and Juvenile Probation Offices. The children come from all walks of life; there is no common denominator. Some of the children have great parents that love them, but don’t have the resources or skills to raise the kids properly. And there are children whose parents simply aren’t there for them.
James A. Hudack, TFC Director at Canal Ways, elaborated on the high need for foster homes in Blair County. “There are a lot of children who need foster homes, and that need is growing. We have 20 children presently in homes, but we’re out of homes to put any other children in.” Hudack explains, “Depending on the needs of the child, if the recommendation by the psychologist or psychiatrist is therapeutic family care and the child can’t be placed because of unavailability of homes, the psychologist or psychiatrist will make a re-assessment to see whether the child is going to be placed in a different level of foster care or if the child’s needs are great enough, that they have to go into residential placement.”
Residential Treatment isn’t always a negative answer, but there are very few residential treatment facilities in Blair and our surrounding counties. Hudack commented on why residential treatment may not be the answer. “Residential placement takes the child out of the community, and not just the town, borough or whatever, but perhaps out of the geographical region.”
The purpose of Therapeutic Family Care is to provide therapeutic treatment within an individual’s specialized therapeutic home environment. It decreases the need for institutional care, builds a consistent support system that will enhance the child’s self-image, decreases the child’s dependence upon social systems and maintains the child in an appropriate community-based educational and recreational setting.
By providing a home for a foster child in the community, such as Tyrone for instance, the child will have a chance to develop socially with other children his or her age, which has a lasting effect. A therapeutic family setting is a much more normal, healthy environment than the artificial living arrangements within group homes, residential treatment facilities or institutions.
Hudack adds, “We try to give the children the life they never had before, by providing an extended family, with our people at Canal Ways and the foster parents.”
“Blair County has wonderful human services in the mental health field. I’ve had the opportunity to be involved in a number of different counties and I honestly can say that Blair is first rate.” Hudack also mentioned that the professionals that work in Mental Health, Children and Youth Services, Juvenile Probation and all the other related agencies truly care about the clients they work with, which exemplifies the need of foster homes for the children. The workers in these agencies are giving their all to help these children, but without homes being provided by the public, they can only take their efforts so far.
The tax-free money that is involved in foster parenting differs between Therapeutic Family Care and Foster Care Plus. Therapeutic Family Care offers between $60-$70 a day and Foster Care Plus gives $35 a day. Canal Ways pays more than other agencies, but they deal with children of higher level needs. Requirements for Therapeutic Foster Parents include: must be 21 years of age, complete 40 hours of training (CPR, First Aid, and Safe Physical Management), spouse or partner must complete 20 hours of training, must be available at all times, participate and pass home study, willing to work with child’s family, and be compassionate, flexible and committed.
Parents of Foster Care Plus requirements include: must be 21 years of age, complete 25 hours of training, spouse or partner must complete 12 hours of training, may hold an outside job, participate and pass home study, willing to work with child’s family, and also be compassionate, flexible and committed.
The benefits of providing a foster home reach much farther past the training and time consumed. It gives people a sense of accomplishment and the chance to provide a child with a proper up bringing to challenge life’s obstacles.
If you are interested in learning more about becoming a therapeutic foster parent, call toll free 1-888-729-8290. You may also contact James A. Hudack, TFC Director at Canal Ways, (814) 695-7180 Extension: 33.