'This Is Us' plot line shines light on the need for foster parents

October 10, 2017 08:35 PM

ROCHESTER — Fans of “This is Us” on NBC are seeing a story line play out where one of the main characters and his wife become foster parents. Counties around our region say the show is highlighting a real need locally. They are looking for foster homes to house children in crisis. The immediate need is for foster parents willing to take in teenagers, especially those with emotional, behavioral or drug issues.  

“They just kind of needed some help and structure and our hearts just kind of went out for that,” says Janice Scott.  She and her husband Claudius raised four boys of their own and when they retired, decided to start fostering. They knew right away they wanted to take in teenagers. "It was kind of like the last chance, a teenager 15-16 years old, it's like if they're going to do something positive and successful and if they don't have it together by now, or they can't get it together in a couple of years, they're going to fall in the cracks,” Janice says.


In the past eight years, the Scotts have been foster parents to more than 100 teenage boys in Rochester, most of them with behavioral, emotional or drug problems. "I’ve had some challenges with children but I can't say I've had failures. We've built a relationship with them and spend a lot of time with them and a lot of children...that's what they're craving for,” Janice says.

The Scotts don’t say “no” often because they know foster homes are limited. In Monroe County alone, there are nearly 500 children in foster care and finding placements for teenagers in particular isn’t easy. Hillside Family of Agencies works to provide therapeutic services for foster kids from counties around our area who’ve had trauma in their past.

“If you’re interested in becoming a foster parent to a teen in need, it looks a lot like when you have your own teenagers, there's appointments, with the children we serve, there are probably more appointments than that of a teenager who may not have a traumatic history, so appointments, extra-circulars, some of our teenagers have part-time jobs they've got to get to and from,” says Katelyn Ferris, a care coordinator at Hillside.

Ferris says an interested party has to consider all of the people living in the home and what fostering would look like for them. The need for families to open their doors to teenage foster children is great but so is the responsibility. "We kind of determine if this particular child would work for a particular foster home and then set-up those meet and greets, giving the child and the foster family the opportunity to meet each other, maybe spend the weekend together,” Ferris adds.  

The Scotts admit fostering is not easy. “I don't sleep much, believe me,” Janice tells News10NBC with a laugh but she adds, “you get all kinds of different children, even your biological children... just knowing that you're doing all you can to help a child is very rewarding, so if they were thinking about it at all, I would say... 'give it a try.'”

See Katelyn’s full interview:

For more information on becoming a foster parent:

Monroe County
Genesee County
Seneca County
Wayne County
Ontario County


Jennifer Lewke

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