During November, states, communities, public and private organizations, businesses, families and individuals celebrate as a positive way to build families. Across the nation, activities and observances such as recognition dinners, public awareness and recruitment campaigns spotlight the needs of children who need permanent families. It included National Adoption Day, traditionally a Saturday, which is observed in courthouses across the nation as thousands of adoptions are finalized simultaneously.
Bouboulis said the Otsego County Department of Social Services is promoting adopting through its foster care program by placing ads in a local publication and on signs on the Oneonta Public Transit Systems buses that read, “Open your heart and home to children in need.”
An appreciation dinner was held Nov. 16 at the Brooks’ House of Barbeque for staff. An event was also held for foster and adopted parents to meet with resource providers. It was a time for children who have been in the foster care system to speak, and have experienced adoptive or foster parents share their experiences, according to Bouboulis.
Bouboulis said there is a certification process that Social Services uses for those wanting to become foster parents. It follows the state model — a model approach to partnership and parenting (MAP), she said.
According to Bouboulis, the program lasts 10 weeks and typically begins in the fall and spring. People interested in learning more can contact the Social Services office at 547- 4355.
Bouboulis said there are about 54 children in the foster care program, but she is happy to say there are no children waiting for pre-adoptive homes.
“We are in a great place right now, which is not always the case,” she said.
Adopting through foster care can be more difficult and challenging than traditional options, according to Bouboulis. She said a lot of the children are teenagers and are not always in the program because of abuse or neglect. Some are juvenile delinquents, she added.