HUNTINGDON COUNTY. Pa. (WTAJ) – Huntingdon County Children Services is in need of folks willing to open up their hearts and homes, and foster a teenager.
“30% of the children in our system are aged 13 and older,” said administrator Shannon Walborn.
According to HCCS, when they ask foster parents if they’d be interested in fostering a teen, they’re commonly met with the same facial expression; concerned, nervous, questionable looks.
“Everyone wants an adorable baby or young child to support, love, and encourage and we get that, but the reality is our teens are adorable too. Our teens need support, love, and encouraged,” said Foster Care Caseworker Sara Gongloff.
Gongloff says many have the misconception that all teens are going to be defiant, a liability and troublesome, when really she says they’re no more challenging than a 5-year-old or infant.
“Expecting teens or any foster child to be a perfect, well behaved child is absurd. Having that expectation is like having the expectation that their will be world peace,” said Gongloff.
This, after Gongloff says the children have endured abuse and neglect, with the extent of what some have experienced never to be fully known.
“Our teens are actually the most vulnerable. They have less years to turn their lives around and to learn how to be an effective member of society and to meet their goals in life, to be successful… they’re going to be 18 and that’s the scary part. That’s what should get people to want to foster teens because if we don’t help these teenagers better themselves, better the decisions they made, get on the right track the system is only going to keep repeating itself,” said Gongloff.
To be a foster parent, Walborn says one must meet the following requirements:
-Able to pass background check
-Pass a home inspection
-Show emotional/physical/and financial stability.
Huntingdon County Foster Care will also be at the BBQ Bonanza on Sept. 17 and 18 at the Huntingdon Co Fairground.
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