foster care pictureMay 10, 2018 -- May is Foster Care Month and to bring awareness Westchester County Government, the Department of Social Services (DSS), Family Services of Westchester (FSW) and United Way kicked off the month with a proclamation and a tour of a youth home in White Plains. Westchester County and United Way of Westchester and Putnam also announced a new campaign to recruit foster parents. The event took place at the Jerome Wagner Home for Boys, a facility lead by FSW.

County Executive George Latimer said: “In Westchester County we currently have about 200 foster families that are part of our foster care network, but we need many more homes for these children. Many of these children have been through traumatic experiences. They need a loving home and understanding foster parents to help them make the transition to adoption. Through our partnership with United Way of Westchester and Putnam we are currently recruiting foster parents. We hope as many of you as possible will open your homes to a child.’’

Standing in front of Family Services of Westchester, one of the many agencies that provide services for foster children, Department of Social Services Deputy Commissioner John Befus and President and CEO of United Way of Westchester and Putnam Alana Sweeny, appealed to Westchester County residents to become foster parents.

Deputy County Executive Ken Jenkins said: “Visiting a home such as this one and interacting with youth who benefit from DSS, FSW and United Way demonstrates the importance of foster care. This program we are announcing is to encourage and recruit more parents and families to get involved in our foster care system. It is an important cog to make sure that our youth and our families continue to rise up.”

Deputy Commissioner for DSS John Befus, said that DSS and United Way’s 2-1-1 information and referral line have teamed up to create a special event on May 19 at the Warner Library in Tarrytown. They are inviting prospective foster parents to come and hear from children who have been through the foster care system and to learn about what it takes to become a foster parent.

Family Services of Westchester Vice President Program Operations Sharifa Armorer said: "Today is truly important for us here at Family Services of Westchester and we are equally grateful to County Executive George Latimer and his office for proclaiming May as Foster Care Month. We continue to serve Westchester's most vulnerable through our many programs and services including The Youth Residences and Therapeutic Foster Care. And of course we are thankful to FSW Board member, Brandon Steiner for his support."

To learn more about what it takes to be a foster parent or to RSVP for the May 19 screening of Ripped and Sewn at Warner Library, call 914-993-3719 or visit United Way’s website.