AP NEWS

CYS holding basket party to raise funds for 30th anniversary

March 30, 2019

Officials estimate that 750 children have passed through the Somerset County foster care system during its 30 years.

Children and Youth Services caseworker Laurie Deist said that July 1 will mark the agency’s 30th anniversary.

To celebrate the anniversary, Deist said the staff wanted to do something special for the kids and families.

To raise money for the event, they are holding a basket party at 1 p.m. April 6 at the Somerset Area High School.

“We are appreciative of the response that we have had from community members and businesses, in their donations and ticket purchases,” she said.

“We also are continuing to sell tickets, and are still accepting basket donations as well. Thanks again for your support.”

Deist said that the number of kids in placement fluctuates. She said that from 1989 to 1995 the agency averaged 100 kids in placement at one time.

She said the drug epidemic and law changes after the Jerry Sandusky scandal has increased the numbers of kids in placement.

The agency is always in need of foster families in all of the school districts in the county. In particular, homes that can take sibling groups are needed.

Foster parents must be at least 21 years old, have stable family relationships, be in good health, are meeting their family’s financial obligations and have stable housing.

“We have workers that provide support and there are special service providers,” she said.

“We can link families, too, to offer training.”

She said that current foster families can give great support to new foster families.

“In some ways it is like parenting any other kid,” she said. “In some ways it is a unique perspective and experience.”

Event tickets are available at the door or at the CYS office in Somerset.

The party is being sponsored by the Windber Fire Department. Children can attend and eat, but will not be receiving tickets.

To purchase tickets, or to find out more about being a foster parent, contact Deist at 814-445-1609 or at 814-521-5891.

She can also be reached by email at deistl@co.somerset.pa.us.