Foster parents honored throughout the Valley

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Mother’s Day is a special day for not only those who gave birth to their children, but also foster mothers.

Foster parents from across the Valley celebrated National Foster Care Month this weekend with a number of different events.

Marguerite Felice took Clayton Henderson in as a foster child at the age of 10. He’s now 14 years old.

“In fact, we’re in the process right now of adoption,” said Felice.

Felice never had biological children. For her, Mother’s Day didn’t matter much until she became a foster parent.

“It’s a lot different now. Before I didn’t have any children, so I wasn’t really paying much attention to Mother’s Day,” said Felice.

Clayton said the past four years with a new mom has been quite eventful.

“It’s been fun. It’s been nice,” said Clayton.

Venita Collins has her own children but has also been a foster mother on and off throughout the years.

“I think it’s great. You just love them like your own kids,” said Collins.

Mahoning County Children Services is in need of more loving foster parents like these. There are currently 68 active foster homes in Mahoning County.

“We definitely would like to increase that pool significantly over the next two years to approximately 90 to a 100 foster homes. That’s our goal,” said Anthony Paris of Mahoning County Children Services.

Paris said the biggest need is for foster parents for teens, between the ages of 16 to 18 years old.

“Which is a little different role than the traditional foster parents for younger children, in that they would act in a mentoring capacity, more than a parental figure,”explained Paris. “We really need to do a better job of serving that age group.”

164 children are currently in need of foster homes in Mahoning County.

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