New center offers respite from foster care stress

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PENFIELD, N.Y. (WHEC) – New Children’s Center provides respite from stress of the foster care system.

A new center in Penfield will serve as a guide for children who are having trouble adapting to traditional foster homes. The center opened Wednesday morning and will offer temporary housing and behavioral services to help kids with the placement process.

The new foster care stabilization center, on Penfield Road, will give boys and girls, ages 10 to 17, a reprieve from the stress that can come from being in the foster care system.

"We will say to each and every child, family and foster family who walks through those doors, you are welcome here, we’re here to help and we’re in this together,” George Dermody, the president of Children’s Home of Wyoming Conference, said.

The center was designed to feel like home and can house up to 8 kids at a time. Leaders say the need for foster and foster/adoptive homes is great.

"Children’s Home responded to that need with such a robust proposal for something that has been missing from our community,” Amy Natale-McConnell, director of family services at Monroe County Department of Human Services, said.

The department chose Binghampton-based, Children’s Home of Wyoming Conference to run the new county-wide program. The home will provide a variety of services, including medical, behavioral and educational. The program is licensed and monitored by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, in Rochester.

On average, Monroe County has about 470 children, of all races and ages, up to 21, in foster care, according to the county website.

"Opening the home was not easy. It was hard for us to get responses. It’s no secret about the climate that we are in our community and the fear that we have. Not just fear for the youth in the county, but the more vulnerable youth that we have,” Thalia Wright, who serves as the commissioner for Rochester Department of Human Services, said.

It’s the mission of Children’s Home to keep kids connected and in permanent homes. They provide an array of family and child-serving programs throughout New York State, serving 800 youth and families annually and employing more than 600 people.

Visit Children’s Home website here.