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Pluta lauds efforts of area foster parents, more are needed

Date: 5/17/2011

May 18, 2011

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

HOLYOKE — Mayor Elaine Pluta acknowledged the role of foster parents in the city and region last week with a formal proclamation that May is "Foster Parent Appreciation Month."

Pluta joined with local staff members from the Department of Children and Families (DCF) as well as area fosters parents for a presentation on the City Hall lawn .

Shellie Daries, the recruiter for foster and adoptive services in the DCF's Holyoke office, explained the event was a way to express thanks to the foster parents who help children.

"We couldn't do this work without committed foster parents," she said.

The foster parents wore dark blue ribbons, which Daries said represents the effort to help children.

Pluta said the foster parents provide "safe harbor from domestic violence, abuse and neglect."

Daires said there is always a need for more foster parents and locally there are more than 400 children in foster care. Statewide, that figure is almost 8,000.

She added the rate of children requiring to be removed from their home has increased recently from 5 to 10 percent.

She believes the increase can be attributed, at least in part, to the economy and the stress families face coping with budget restraints.

If a person is interested in becoming a foster parent, they should call Daries at 493-2600 and ask for "family resources."

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