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Western Maryland Departments of Social Services name their 2011 Foster Parents of the Year

BALTIMORE: (May 25, 2011) – 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 their own community, thereby keeping the children connected 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:

Western Region–  Allegany, Frederick, Garrett, and Washington County Honorees  

Jurisdiction:  Allegany County

Honorees:  Lisa and Stanley Nelson

 Lisa and Stanley currently have three children in their home.  The Nelsons have shown great commitment to the children.  Mr. and Mrs. Nelson not only are dedicated to meeting the foster children’s needs but they also strive to assist the biological family in providing support in moving toward reunification.  The Nelsons make every effort to include the biological families in celebrating all milestones in each child’s life.  Mr. and Mrs. Nelson have fostered six children within their home.  

Jurisdiction:  Frederick County

Honorees:  Cindi and Tom Webb

In the five years that the Webbs have been licensed, they have had eight children placed in their home, two of whom they have since adopted.  The Webbs have provided a safe, loving home for multiple sibling groups, including medically fragile infants.  They are always willing to “go the extra mile” to support the agency with emergency placements, transportation, and more.  The Webbs understand the importance of the connections with birth families.  They have worked very well with immediate and extended family members of the children placed in their home. 

When two children were moved from their home into a kinship placement, Cindi and Tom offered to babysit the children so that the family could attend their PRIDE pre-service training without having to worry about childcare arrangements.  The Webbs’ daughters, ranging in age from four to adult, have also been an integral part of the fostering process and have welcomed and helped nurture each child who came into their home.  Cindi has been involved with the Frederick County Foster and Adoptive Parent Association and currently serves as President.  Cindi also has shared her experiences on various panels, both at the local and state levels. 

 

Jurisdiction:  Garrett County

Honorees:  Diane and Sheldon Maust

Diane and Sheldon Maust have five children of their own and have had seven foster care placements in the past six years.  The Mausts have been active in the local foster parent association since becoming foster parents and have been instrumental in referring and mentoring new foster parents.  They exhibit a high level of knowledge and commitment to the foster parent program.  For example: they had two small children placed in their home this past year with significant emotional and developmental needs.  These foster children were not only shown a warm and nurturing environment, the Mausts also did a wonderful job of balancing the many responsibilities in their own lives to meet the needs of these children.  When the Department identified family members for these children, the Mausts worked hard to encourage this new relationship.  The Mausts are model foster parents in their communication with the Department, the care and respect for the children, their ability to set appropriate boundaries and know their own limitations, and their work with biological families.

 

Jurisdiction:  Washington County

Honorees:  Tina and Dan Hall

  Tina and Dan Hall were licensed on July 30, 2008.  They have had several children placed in their home since they opened their home to foster children.  On September 30, 2008, two young girls were placed in their home.  The type of behaviors that these girls exhibited normally would result in a more restrictive placement.  However, they put all their energy into these girls and were committed to them, no matter how difficult their behaviors were in the home.  They were thrilled when they got the opportunity to adopt both the girls.  Additionally, they stepped up and became a relative resource for Dan’s great niece and nephew.  They are happily looking forward to adopting both of those children as well.  They currently are taking care of a 15-year-old female foster child.  This is the first teen placement for this couple and they are excelling at working with the teen and her family.

  For several years, Dan has been the co-facilitator of the PRIDE trainings, which is the training program for prospective foster and adoptive parents.  The family is also very involved in the Local Foster Parent Association, spearheading the Washington County Walk Me Home event in 2009.  They are also instrumental in the summer and winter festivities offered for all foster families and their foster children.  They have also volunteered to sponsor the infant/toddler visiting room in the agency’s new visitation house.

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, Allegany County, DHS News, Frederick County, Garrett County

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