Homes for Kids is hoping to make children smile by having local residents become foster caregivers to the many children needing families and homes.
The agency provides treatment foster care to children who reside in the foster care system in Ohio, many of whom have been emotionally, physically or sexually abused.
Shannon Harnichar, director of foster care for Homes for Kids, said the aim of the agency is for every child to have a place to call home.
Currently being sought are caring families or individuals to provide a temporary, safe home for a child. Harnichar said there are currently 11,851 children in the state needing healthy family environments.
Danette Palmer, coordinator of marketing and development for Homes for Kids, said foster caregivers are provided with the education and skills necessary to make an everlasting impact on a child's life.
Caregivers are provided with continual training and support, including foster caregiver support group. Qualifications to be a foster caregiver are age 21 or older, have strong support system to enable to handle stress and crisis situations and be a resident of Ohio. Single persons, couples or co-parents are eligible.
Palmer said reimbursement for daily care of a child will be provided ranging from $35 to $65, as well as reimbursement for attending trainings, placement bonus, 24-hour emergency support services and referral bonus.
Harnichar said treatment foster care is different than the traditional family foster care due to additional training requirements.
"The children placed in treatment foster care have suffered from some form of abuse physical, emotional or sexual abuse,'' she said.
Harnichar said the treatment team at the agency includes case workers, mental health workers and therapists, who meet weekly on the services.
Harnichar said while Homes for Kids cannot do adoptions it has provided assistance with adoptions.
"It is not uncommon for our foster parents to start out just fostering however over a year or two they bond with the child's situation and do go to adoption in providing a permanent family,'' Harnichar said.
Training is offered at the Niles location with 50 children a year placed in the tri-county area which includes Trumbull, Mahoning and Columbiana. Children who age out of the system are provided with help to prepare them for college, technical centers or military.
For information, call 330-544-8005, Ext. 413 or email Karen@hfk.org.w/art