Cape Gazette
http://capegazette.villagesoup.com/p/1190673

Delaware's foster families honored for service to children

Elizabeth and Leo Menard of Lewes honored
Jun 06, 2014
Source: Submitted Elizabeth Menard, left, and her husband Leo are presented with a plaque for 40 years of service as foster parents by DFS staff member Robyn Leimbach. The Menards are residents of Lewes.

Two New Castle County families were named Foster Families of the Year, and were among a total 55 families statewide who were honored for between 5 and 40 years of service to children in the First State. The awards were presented at the Division of Family Services' annual foster parent training and recognition conference held at Dover Downs conference facilities May 29. May is National Foster Care Month.

The conference brings together approximately 300 foster families, Division of Family Services staff and private agency service providers to learn more about best practice tools and strategies to help children who experience Delaware’s foster care system. The theme for this year’s is Trauma Hurts - Transforming Lives Together for Better Outcomes. Topics included updates on system wide improvements, improved supports for foster families, and an enhanced focus on keeping children in care connected to immediate and extended members of their birth families. DFS officials say foster parents provide a critically important role in Delaware’s child welfare system.

The DFS Foster Family of the Year is Vicky and Bo Gordy-Stith. The Gordy-Stiths, while raising two biological children of their own, also took in three foster children, subsequently adopting one.

The private agency Foster Family of the Year is Edwina and Anthony Cornish. The Cornishes were nominated for going above and beyond in their efforts to support the two girls in their care who were transitioning to a pre-adoptive home in Texas, after having been with them for over a year.

Elizabeth and Leo Menard of Lewes and Glenda and Jerome Houston are from Greenwood were honored for 40 years of service as foster parents.

Foster parents provide a temporary home to children who have entered the child protective services system due to abandonment, abuse and/or neglect and prepare them to either reunify with their birth family or move onto a new permanent family when reunification is not appropriate. There are over 600 children currently in foster care in Delaware.

The Division of Family Services is in need of, and actively recruiting, more families to care for children with special needs including teens, sibling groups and children with special needs or who are medically fragile.

The Children’s Department provides services to children who have been abused, neglected, are dependent, have mental health or substance problems, have been adjudicated delinquent by the Courts, as well as prevention services targeted toward all youth. For more information, go to www.kids.delaware.gov.

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