May is National Foster Care Month, a time to recognize that individuals, families and communities can each play a part in enhancing the lives of children and youth in foster care. In Connecticut, there are more than 4,000 children in foster care and hundreds more in need of a stable, loving home.
“This observance provides an opportunity for others to consider how they can help youth already in foster care, or help a child or youth in need of a home,” said Sharon Pendleton-Ponzani, LCSW, director, Community Based Family Services, Wheeler.
Wheeler’s Foster Care programs, funded by the Department of Children and Families, provide 24-hour support to families and youth and a higher level of support and resources to assist families in meeting the needs of youth and children placed in their homes. This team works closely with children and potential families to create a match in which both family and youth grow and thrive.
In preparation for National Foster Care Month, Wheeler’s Foster Care team will host a seasonal toy, arts and crafts, and sports equipment drive on April 28 at Gnazzo’s Food Center, 73 East Street, Plainville from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
“In addition to collecting items to help make the upcoming seasons more special and memorable for youth, this event is intended to raise awareness of the need for foster parents,” said Pendleton-Ponzani.
Wheeler’s team also will host two Open House events during the month of May in Plainville and Waterbury.
These no-obligation events are held every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month and provide information about Wheeler’s foster care programs.
Foster parents come from many walks of life. Mature adults who are single or married, working or at home, are encouraged to become foster parents. Wheeler’s team of experts coordinates services for youth from diverse backgrounds with the goal of providing a nurturing home and a structured environment. Families are part of a team of professionals and are provided with financial support and training to ensure they are well-equipped to meet the needs of youth in their care.