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Southern Maryland Region Names Its 2011 Foster Parents of the Year

 BALTIMORE –  During May, which is Foster Care Month, Maryland recognizes local families who make a significant difference in the lives of children who are in need of a safe and loving home. Earlier this month, First Lady Katie Curran O’Malley and Maryland Department of Human Resources (DHR) Secretary Theodore Dallas honored families during a reception at Government House. Each jurisdiction also hosted a special “thank-you” event for their foster parents and the children in their care.

Foster Care is a temporary placement that provides short-term care and supportive services to children who are unable to live at home because of child abuse or neglect. The foster care program in Maryland encourages foster parents to play an active role with the birth family in planning and carrying out the goals of the permanency plan. Foster children are placed in homes that are in thown community thereby keeping the chilconnected to their home school, friends, and resources within their neighborhood.

 

Across Maryland there are over 7,000 young people in foster care – 50 percent of them are 13 years of age or older.

The 2011 Foster Parents of the Year from Western Maryland are:

Southern Region

 Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s Counties’ Honorees

 

 

Jurisdiction: Calvert County DSSHonorees: DaNeil and Tony Deller

DaNeil and Tony Deller family are tirelessly dedicated to the safety, health, education, and well-being of foster children. DaNeil treats foster children in her care as if they are her biological children and maintains relationships with the children and their families even after they exit care. She is always willing to step up to the plate and take children on very short notice. She acts as a mentor to the biological parents, keeps in close contact with them, and supports them in reunification efforts. DaNeil embodies the traits that make her a positive example to all foster parents and the community.

Jurisdiction: Charles County

Honorees: Alisa and Kirk Spells

Kirk and Alisa Spells have been an approved resource family with Charles County DSS for four years. They have provided emergency care, respite, and regular foster care for children ranging in age from newborn to teenagers. Mr. and Mrs. Spells have worked cohesively with birth parents toward reunification. Mr. Spells has been a strong positive male role model for the teenage boys they have fostered.

Mrs. Spells helped to develop a functioning foster parent association in Charles County. She has worked collaboratively with the social services staff in order to plan training opportunities, bi-monthly support meetings, and social and recreational activities for Charles County resource families. The association has been instrumental in improving support services, especially for new resource families. Mrs. Spells also regularly shares her fostering experiences with new foster parent recruits in the pre-service PRIDE training sessions.

Jurisdiction: St Mary’s County

Honorees: Kim and Mike Myers

Kim and Mike Myers became licensed foster parents in July of 2009, and their family has been a true asset to the St. Mary’s County Department of Social Services. In early 2010, the Myers family accepted their first foster child, and by the summer, they had opened their home to three more siblings from the same family that would have otherwise been separated between several foster homes. Though this was their first placement as a newly licensed family, it was immediately evident that they possess a special ability to reach out to children with a vast array of needs and a genuine dedication to strengthening and supporting families in the community.

Having five biological children of their own, Kim and Mike are well acquainted with the need for flexibility and creativity; while most people cannot imagine having nine total children under one roof, the Myers managed the family schedule perfectly and regularly found solutions to seemingly impossible challenges with everything from picky eaters to severe mental health concerns. The Myers regularly identified additional services they felt might benefit the children and family and sought out opportunities to expand their own knowledge base in order to better care for the children. They even opened up their home to the children’s pets to help them feel more secure in their “home away from home” and enrolled the children in extracurricular activities to strengthen each of their individual interests and talents. 

 

  

For information about becoming a licensed foster/adoptive parent, contact the local department of social services in your area, or call 1-800-332-6347, or attend a regional information session for prospective foster/adoptive parents.

Filed in: Adoption and Foster Care, DHS News, In this County

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