Foster parents needed

‘Extreme shortage’ of homes in Valley

NILES — An agency that provides mental health services and administers foster parent services is hoping to attract new potential foster parents in Trumbull and Mahoning counties during four informational meetings scheduled in February and March.

Danette Palmer, marketing director for Cadence Care Network, formerly Homes for Kids Inc., said an extreme shortage of foster homes exists in the Mahoning Valley.

“We are looking for not only foster parents but also kinship caregivers for children currently in custody. For those considering adoption, becoming a foster parent will help with that process,” Palmer said.

Shannon Harnichar, compliance officer for the organization, said its main focus is getting foster parents.

“In 40 minutes, I received four referrals from different counties. We really need more families who want to open their homes,” she said.

Palmer said sometimes several children are removed from one home because of neglect. They try to keep siblings together, but it can be difficult, Palmer said.

Harnichar said classes are available at any time for a foster parent to attend. And the open houses are coming up. Sessions will be held from 10 a.m. to noon and from 5 to 7 p.m. Feb. 25 at Cadence Care Network training building, 39 N. Main St, Niles; and on March 19 the sessions will be held from 10 a.m. to noon and from 5 to 7 p.m. in the small meeting room of the Austintown Library, 600 S. Raccoon Road.

Maddie Williams, foster parent recruiter / intake worker, said the open houses are for anyone age 21 and older interested in being a foster parent.

Harnichar said the number of foster care referrals has doubled over the last two years, in part because of the opioid epidemic, and the agency is in need of additional foster parents in Trumbull, Mahoning, Columbiana and Ashtabula counties to provide a safe home for children.

In 2019, in Ohio there were 16,000 children in foster care and in 2020 it is expected to reach 20,000, Palmer said.

When the organization started in 1990, the nonprofit worked with local childrens’ services boards to offer placement services to foster children and to certify and support foster parents, and so the name Homes for Kids Inc. was selected, Harnichar said.

But, Palmer said, since the organization expanded its mission to include mental health services to children, families and individuals not formally involved in the child welfare system, a name change was warranted.

“The name Homes for Kids did not really get what we are doing anymore,” she said.

It took on the name Cadence Care Network in the fall.

“We needed a name that better reflected the array of services we have grown to provide,” said CEO Matt Kresic.

Kresic said the word cadence “is a constant reminder to our staff, partners, and community that we are dedicated to helping children, families, and individuals develop a healthy rhythm despite the obstacles they may be facing.”

Cadence Care Network serves about 1,500 children across four counties with either behavioral health or foster care services.

Trauma-informed services include individual and group counseling, medication management, autism treatment, early childhood mental health, intensive home based treatment, parenting classes, foster care and school-based programs.

Kresic said foster care is central to the organization, but the focus is on mental health services to keep families together, and keep kids out of residential facilities.

“We are eager to serve anyone in need of our services, whether it’s a child experiencing behavioral health issues, an individual in need of trauma therapy, or a family longing for peace within their home,” Kresic said.

For information about becoming a foster parent, contact Williams at 330-544-8005 ext. 1104 or email her at Maddie.Williams@cadencecare.org.

To learn more, visit Cadence Care Network’s new website at www.cadencecare.org.



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