Monday, July 22, 2013

Helping Youth Who Enter Foster Care

Children who enter foster care often experience many challenges. To help ease their transition, Delaware County Council and the Department of Human Services, Office of Children and Youth Services (CYS), is conducting a Youth Essentials Drive to collect toiletries for children and teens being placed in foster care.

From July 15 to Aug. 2, county employees will collect personal care items such as soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, toothbrushes, combs, hairbrushes, hair pomade, deodorant, body lotion and other items that could improve a child’s quality of life. Collection boxes are placed at various county offices including the Courthouse and Government Center in Media and the CYS offices in Upper Darby and Chester. It is estimated that there are 470 children and teens currently in the Delaware County foster care system.

Each year, about 220 children and teens enter into foster care. Children entering the foster care system often arrive with few personal belongings, and their luggage might be a trash bag to hold their clothes. They might have to share hygiene products such as soap and shampoo with other foster children or teens.

“Through this drive, we hope to provide children with their own personal care products. Having a personal bottle of shampoo or tube of toothpaste can help bring comfort to a child or teen that has had the emotional impact of needing foster care,” said County Councilman Dave White, Council’s liaison to Human Services.
CYS Director Deirdre Gordon said children and teens in foster care can be upset by the impermanence of their situation and some have come from a situation where they experienced neglect, poverty or exposure to drugs. The goal is to provide them with a safe, nurturing home.

To kick off the Youth Essentials Drive, CYS received a donation of $490 from the CYS Citizens Advisory Committee to purchase small gym bags. The funds were raised through the Delaware County Juror Donation Program where jurors volunteer to donate all or part of their stipend to one of several charities that help children in need. The goal of the Youth Essentials Drive is to fill the gym bags with lots of toiletries to provide some comfort and dignity for the children and teens entering foster care.

County employees and members of the public are invited to place donations in the boxes, located at the Delaware County Government Center and Courthouse in Media, the County Office of Services for the Aging (COSA) in Eddystone, the Human Services office in Upper Darby, or CYS in Chester.

Delaware County CYS can also be contacted by adults who would like to explore the possibility of becoming a foster parent. For information about the Foster Care Program call CYS at 610-713-2000 (Upper Darby office) or 610-447-1000 (Chester office).