MANHATTAN, NEW YORK (FOXBusiness) - BALTIMORE, Sept 03, 2009 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ ----New Foster Care and Community Programs Center Calls on Local Families to Help Local Kids Waiting for a Place to Call Home
New Effort Supported by Local VIPs and Citywide Radio Campaign
To help more of the 6,000 Baltimore children now in foster care or on waiting lists for good, loving homes, the 127-year old children's crisis charity KidsPeace has opened a much-needed foster care and community programs center in Baltimore City. Funded through a federal grant secured by Senator Barbara Mikulski, the new center is a proactive step in providing care to a specialized-needs group of local children who require therapeutic foster homes to overcome crises in their young lives. A citywide public service radio campaign created by KidsPeace through a grant from the American Legion Child Welfare Foundation has been launched on dozens of local radio stations and is calling on good-hearted citizens to consider fostering children -- especially older children, who are often overlooked and who now make up nearly half of all kids in foster care.
At a special event and open house on Thursday, September 3, from 9:00 a.m.-12:00 noon the charity is appealing to Baltimore families to open their hearts and their homes to local kids in need. More than 70 VIPs have supported the effort, including Senator Mikulski, Congressman Elijah Cummings, Maryland State Delegate Barbara Robinson, Baltimore City Councilman Bernard C. "Jack" Young, Baltimore Department of Social Services Director Molly McGrath and Assistant Director David Thompson, KidsPeace President and CEO William Isemann, local service providers, community supporters, foster parents, and foster kids. KidsPeace and MARFY provided a free training to local social workers on how to recruit and prepare families to take older teens, handle crises, and reduce the numbers of kids "given back." The session was led by Pat O'Brien, noted founder of the teen adoption agency, "You Gotta Believe."
Across the nation, the need for foster homes is rapidly increasing as more and more children are removed from their homes and need temporary or permanent alternatives because of abuse, neglect, or other family crises. More than 500,000 children nationwide currently need foster homes, but the number of foster homes falls short of meeting the need. Nearly half are over age 12. A supportive, caring foster family can give them a sanctuary and can prevent the cycles of their past from determining the course of their future.
"The shortage of foster homes leaves more and more children deprived of the loving care that every child needs and deserves," said William Isemann, KidsPeace President and CEO. "KidsPeace's new center in Baltimore will work with families in the region to give the best to kids who have been through the worst."
"KidsPeace is mission-driven so we find out where the need is and we go there," said Ray Culp, executive director for KidsPeace Foster Care and Community Programs. "We opened this center to do our part in keeping Baltimore's children safe from harm and giving them the opportunity for a brighter future."
"Giving hope, help, and healing to children facing crisis is the mission of KidsPeace," said Diane Sancilio, KidsPeace regional director. "With the help of local children's advocates, we will work to make sure that every child who needs a second chance at happiness can get one."
Sandra Rappeport, foster care program manager for KidsPeace in Baltimore, said, "There has been a tremendous response by the community to the new program, and we're hopeful that in partnership with local foster parents and community organizations, we can make a real difference in the lives of kids in foster care."
The new KidsPeace center in Baltimore will help place children who have been removed from their homes into caring, supportive foster or adoptive arrangements where they can be safe, heal from their emotional scars, and experience a sense of home and family they may never have had before. The center will benefit from the resources and expertise of KidsPeace's 127-year history, including the knowledge and contributions of some of America's finest minds in child development, unique online youth resources such as TeenCentral.Net, and public education outreach on a wide range of child-related issues.
The KidsPeace foster care programs differ from traditional programs in that they are specialized therapeutic programs, providing more than just a loving home -- they also provide intensive counseling to help kids heal emotionally while in foster homes. In addition, thorough training and 24-7 support enable foster parents to better relate to emotionally scarred children and give them the compassion and encouragement they need to help kids overcome severe emotional crises.
KidsPeace has already been serving Maryland foster children through its center in Columbia, one of some 40 KidsPeace foster care locations that help place thousands of kids in foster/adoptive homes annually, giving them a chance for a fresh start.
To learn more about being a foster parent, contact KidsPeace at:
KidsPeace Baltimore Foster Care and Community Programs Office
2701 North Charles Street, Suite 401, Baltimore, MD 21218
Phone: (410) 964-9329
KidsPeace is a 127-year-old organization dedicated to giving hope, help, and healing to kids facing crisis. KidsPeace helps children overcome the obstacles and dangers of growing up today through life-saving treatment programs, therapeutic foster care and adoption, and prevention campaigns reaching millions. Supported by.many leading national figures including television personality and founder of the Memory Foundation Leeza Gibbons, KidsPeace was named "The Outstanding Organization" of its kind in the country by the American Association of Psychiatric Services for Children and was called "a prototype of what we need for all children everywhere" by the late, nationally renowned child and family expert, Dr. Lee Salk. In a turbulent world, KidsPeace exists to give kids peace. For more information, go to www.kidspeace.org.
CONTACT: Mark Stubis, KidsPeace Vice President, 800-25-PEACE, firstname.lastname@example.org
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Updated 2129 days ago Article ID# 91328