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By RICK BOSTON
Staff Writer 

Children's Roundtable Honors Families Who Help Kids

 

November 21, 2019

Rick Boston

Kerrie Baughman, clerical unit supervisor for Blair County Children Youth and Families, speaks at the Foster, Kinship and Adoptive Families Recognition and Awards Dinner held Friday evening Nov. 15. The awards recognized families who have taken in dependent children and provided them with a stable environment.

November is National Adoption Month and to celebrate, the Blair County Children's Roundtable and Blair County Children Youth and Families brought together foster and adopted families to recognize them for their contributions to helping Blair County's dependent youth.

The Blair County Children's Roundtable was started in 2004 when the administrator of the then-named Blair County Children and Youth Services offered the agency to the American Bar Association's (ABA) pilot project to enhance the delivery of services to families.

The ABA provided to the county recommendations on ways to improve permanent outcomes for children who needed Children, Youth and Family services.

The ABA recommended the establishment of an advisory board that would help prioritize recommended goals for permanently placing dependent children into homes in a timely manner, affording them a better opportunity at a stable environment.

Made up of CYF staff and court personnel, attorneys, educators and community members, The Children's Roundtable established a more streamlined approach to placing dependent children into a stable environment.

In 2006, the state mandated that all Pennsylvania judicial districts create their own local Children's Roundtable.

The Children's Roundtable efforts go beyond helping place children in foster care. It works to keep children with their families or extended families, offer grief and loss counseling and parental training.

But it was recognizing Blair County's adoptive and foster families that brought roundtable leaders and county officials together on Friday evening, Nov. 15.

Coordinated by Blair County Children Youth and Families Clerical Unit Supervisor Kerrie Baughman, the Foster, Kinship and Adoptive Families Recognition and Appreciation Awards were held at the Zion Lutheran Church in Hollidaysburg.

"This is our third year holding this event," Baughman said. "Every year it grows and helps bring awareness."

Baughman said the awards are a way to honor the outstanding families who offer so much to the children of Blair County.

"These families really go above and beyond for children," Baughman said. "The make a home for them and are willing to on a difficult situation during a time that a child needs them the most."

Awards were given out for outstanding kinship family, outstanding adoptive family, outstanding foster family and outstanding new foster family.

"This banquet is an exciting opportunity to share awareness about just how wonderful and thankful we are to have these families' support, time, care, efforts and love to these children in our community," Baughman said.

Nominations for the awards were made by CY&F-contracted service providers across the state. From those nominations, four families who have displayed outstanding services to the children and youth of Blair County are chosen by the Children Youth & Families advisory board.

Baughman said one of the goals of the banquet is to give the public a better understanding of what it takes to be a foster or adoptive family.

"Our hope is to bring a more positive light to the community during the recognition of these folks," she said.

Blair County Judge Jackie Bernard said the county is blessed to have families who are willing to step up and take in a child in need of a stable environment.

"We are so grateful for the support of the community who make homes available for our community's children when they are in need of a place to go," she said.

 

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