|Foster families needed in Franklin County|
The Young family has expanded from Bobby and Mary Young and their daughters, Madison, 16, and Kennedy, 13, to include Justin, 11. Soon their three younger foster children will be legally adopted by the Youngs.
Friday, May 30, 2014
By EMILY WOOD - News-Post Intern
Because May is National Foster Care Month, Bobby and Mary Young of Penhook want to raise awareness of the need for foster parents in Franklin County.
Over the past eight years, the Youngs have had about 13 foster children spend one month or longer in their home, excluding those who only stayed overnight.
"We need people who are willing to love these children who are in a difficult spot for whatever reason," said Bobby Young, associate pastor at Franklin Heights Baptist Church. "It's certainly not their fault."
According to the Franklin County Department of Social Services, there are currently 72 children in foster care in the area. Children may be placed in foster care when their biological parents are unsuited to support them for any reason. When a child has no next-of-kin, they have nowhere else to go.
There are currently only 29 local families who are keeping foster children in Franklin County.
"We need more families in our county to open up their homes to these precious children," said Mary Young, a kindergarten teacher at Sontag Elementary School.
While most of these children are placed with local residents like the Youngs, others are placed in therapeutic homes, group homes, residential treatment centers or hospitals.
"Foster parents don't have to have any special skills," Bobby Young said. "They don't even need to be parents. They just need to be willing to be a parent and open up their homes and love them and provide for them."
Bobby and Mary Young have two biological daughters, Madison, 16, and Kennedy, 13.
In 2007, the Youngs adopted their first foster son, Justin, who was 2 years old when he arrived at their home in January 2005. He is now 11.
The couple has now begun the process of adopting a group of three siblings, whom they are currently fostering.
"You can imagine how frightening it is thinking you've just lost everything," Bobby Young said. "A lot of times they come with just the clothes on their backs. These kids don't know if they're going back where they came from."
Because of the shortage of foster parents in Franklin County, the Youngs want to spread the word.
"It's not easy, and it's not convenient," Mary Young said. "It's even difficult at times."
"But the investment is worth it because you have the opportunity to change the child's life," Bobby Young added. "Who else is going to do it? Society should be judged by how they treat these kids."
"I'm hoping to let people know there are children here in our county that need a safe, loving home," Mary Young said.
For information on how to become a foster parent, call Resource Family Specialist Erin Finegan with Franklin County Department of Social Services at (540) 483-6856.