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foster care

February 19, 2020 - 3:16pm
posted by Billie Owens in CASA, news, foster care, Byron-Bergen Elementary School.

Top photo, Byron-Bergen Elementary School Council members and Assistant Principal Betsy Brown packing bags at the school for donating to CASA.

Submitted photos and press release:

Byron-Bergen Elementary School students pledged to fill 100 drawstring backpacks with toys and personal items for children being placed in foster care. They had two weeks to complete the project.

“I learned that there are a lot more kids that need help than I thought,” said Byron-Bergen Elementary School Student Council President Maryn Meier. “It’s pretty cool to be helping kids who are really in need.”

On Friday, Feb. 14th, the 100th day of school, the Byron-Bergen Elementary School Student Council delivered 143 bags and several packing boxes filled with additional items to the Genesee County Court Facility in Batavia.

They were met there by Genesee County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Board Chair Barbara Hale.

“It’s overwhelming,” Hale said. “It’s more than I could possibly have imagined.”

The spring community service project is an annual event at Byron-Bergen Elementary School, traditionally aligning with the 100th Day of School celebrations.

In the past they have raised money and collected items to benefit local non-profits, charity organizations, and, last year, the Genesee County Sheriff Department’s K-9 unit.

This year’s project was introduced by Ashley Greene, executive director of CASA.

“A child going into the foster care system is not a planned event and so, quite often, children do not have the opportunity to pack their own belongings, and might show up in a foster home with just the clothes they were wearing that day,” Greene said. “This certainly can be frightening and confusing at the time for them. And what you’ll be providing them is a bit of comfort and sense of belonging.”

Hale accepted the busload of bags and boxes on behalf of CASA.

“I just know that our children are going to be so happy to get something like this from the Byron-Bergen students,” Hale said.

Below, Byron-Bergen Elementary School officers, from left, Maryn Meier, Emma Matthews, Grace Mundell and Rena Wilson.

September 6, 2017 - 8:09am
posted by Howard B. Owens in DSS, Department of Social Services, news, foster care.

An ongoing expense struggle for the county's Department of Social Services said Commissioner Eileen Kirkpatrick is the cost of supporting children in foster care, and especially those who are institutionalized because of serious behavioral problems.

There are about 15 kids in institutional care, which costs the county about $225,000 per year per child.

These are children whose parents could either no longer handle them, or the parents are out of the picture and the children caused problems in foster care settings.

"Some kids' behavior is so extreme not only are they not safe, their families aren't safe and their foster parents aren't safe," Kirkpatrick said. "I'm talking about kids who assault staff, who actually beat up their caretakers."

Kirkpatrick talked about one child who has been in DSS care since she was 12. She frequently ran away from her foster homes and later her institutional care homes.

"I'm responsible for her until she's 21," Kirkpatrick said. "That young lady, she got out of OCSF at 18 and a month beforehand, we moved her into a supervised independent living program. I'm surprised. She's been there since June and actually has stayed there."

That $45,000 annual fee is better than the $225,000 it cost to keep her institutionalized.

There are currently 51 children in foster care, Kirkpatrick said, and the vast majority of them are typical children, going to school and staying out of serious trouble.

The county needs to find more local foster parents, though. Kirkpatrick anticipates an increase in need with school starting when schools are more likely to identify children with problems at home. Today's problems that lead to foster care often involve parental drug addiction. Opioid addiction takes a toll on the children, too.

It's better for the county to place children with the county's own foster parents than through one of the volunteer agencies, she said. That's because when the child goes to an agency, the county often ends up handling case management for the child; making sure they get registered for school, go to school and make any doctor's appointments, for example. So the county doesn't escape that expense, even though it's paying a higher fee for outside placement.

This was Kirkpatrick's last department review with County Legislators before retiring. Her presentation, she said, was meant to inform legislators of one of the significant cost issues facing DSS as the county heads into another round of budget preparation.

May 27, 2010 - 2:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in CASA, foster care.


Representatives of CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) and other community groups were at the courthouse this afternoon to raise awareness, in particular, of foster care programs.

CASA set up 60 cardboard life-size cutouts representing children in foster care.

Pictured below are Tara Pariso, director of CASA, and Amanda Rissinger and Mary Shaughnessy.


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