National Adoption Month a Reminder of Urgent Need for Foster Homes in Greater Waterbury
National Adoption Month is a November observance designed to raise awareness about the critical need for adoptive families for children and youth in foster care. It’s also a time to consider the equally critical need for foster homes for hundreds of children and youth in need.
A Wheeler program serving youth and families in nine cities and towns in Greater Waterbury continues to actively and urgently recruit foster families who can provide stable, safe, caring environments for youth in foster care for shorter durations. Funded by the Connecticut Department of Children and Families, the program serves children and youth, ages 6 to 17, right in their own communities.
“This foster care program is a family treatment model designed to stabilize youth within the foster family,” said Sharon Pendleton-Ponzani, LCSW, director, Wheeler Foster Care. “Over the last year, especially, we have seen our youth thrive within their foster families as they continue successfully on their journey towards permanency.
“We want to keep youth in their communities so that they have as little disruption as possible and can stay connected with their biological families, when we can,” added Pendleton-Ponzani. “We work with all family members involved in this process, including the child/ren in care, the foster family, and family to whom the child/youth is returning.”
Pendleton-Ponzani said that additional support is provided to foster families, including training in the Functional Family Therapy-Foster Care (FFT-FC ) model so they can better understand how to successfully support youth who live in their homes. The FFT-FC model also provides support groups for foster parents using a framework developed by FFT Partners (the model developer).
Wheeler’s program includes a dedicated team of multidisciplinary professionals who provide weekly in-home sessions with youth and families as well as 24/7 on-call coverage support for the foster family. Support groups, ongoing training, and coordination of services for youth also are provided. Families are trained in trauma-informed care as well as in an evidence-based Functional Family Therapy Foster Care model.
Wheeler’s Foster Care program serves youth and families in: Beacon Falls, Middlebury, Naugatuck, Oxford, Prospect, Southbury, Waterbury, Wolcott, and Woodbury. There is a great need for new foster homes in this region to help local children, particularly teenagers.
In Connecticut on any given day, there are more than 3,800 youth in foster care and hundreds more who need loving homes.
About Wheeler’s Foster Care Programs
Wheeler’s Foster Care program, funded by the Connecticut Department of Children and Families, provides 24-hour support to families and youth in Greater Waterbury. Wheeler’s program provides a higher level of care and resources, including support to meet the needs of children and youth and help them heal from abuse, neglect, trauma, and more.
Wheeler’s foster families come from all walks of life. They provide a safe, supportive home environment for children in need. Foster parents may be married or single and rent or own their own home. They must have a stable income and transportation, although a stipend is provided to cover the costs of caring for the child. Many foster parents have children, or have raised children, or others may work with children. For others, it is the discovery that there are children in need of supportive and nurturing caregivers, and a willingness to be trained as foster parents to provide stability for youth while the birth parents are getting the help they need.