Adelphoi Village mission: Helping children

Adelphoi Village, 1964 Lycoming Creek Road, Old Lycoming Township, is a private, nonprofit organization to help children.

The organization is statewide, though the Old Lycoming Township location primarily deals with foster care and adoption.

Dave Hall, program director, said that 98 percent of the children they help are dependent children, referred by children and youth services, but they also deal with delinquent children, referred by juvenile probation services.

“They contract with us … to help provide a need they may not be able to provide with the number of homes available,” he said. “Our primary focus here in the Williamsport office, … we provide foster care and adoption services. Presently, we have children from seven different counties in this region. We have foster homes in five different counties in this region.”

Previously, the organization was associated under Laurel Health Services, but they have been part of Adelphoi for over 6 years.

Many of the staff are long-term with children services and have decades of experience.

“Our primary goal is to find a permanent home for the children,” Hall said.

He said that last year, they had an 83 percent of all the children in their services finding a permanent home.

“Our success rate, and that’s based upon how many of the clients remain out of care for one year, was 32 out of 33,” he said.

One of the main problems, especially with the opioid epidemic in the area, is that there are more children in need than there are homes available.

There can be situations where family or close friends of children, like grandparents or a school coach, may choose to foster a child through kinship fostering rather than the child having to go with strangers.

It may seem confusing to go through the process, but it can be beneficial for the child to be with familiar settings as well as benefits to programs through the foster service.

Hall said some people might find it frustrating to get licensed and say, “‘But, I’m a grandparent. I just want to care for my grandchild.'”

“Once they’re certified, we’re in there providing additional support. They get their case manager services, we’re in the home a minimum of once every two weeks … We also are able to give them a financial stipend,” he said.

Additionally, it can often keep the child in a same school district with friends and other family.

Sue Kaczynski, recruiter, said there is no set guidelines for who can be a foster parent.

“I have to say there is no cookie cutter foster parent. Some people have come forward and said, ‘Can I be a single parent foster parent?’ Yes, you can,” she said.

She said that they try to match children with families that will be a good fit for both parties, and that whatever someone’s situation, there most likely is a child that will fit in their home.

“We have foster parents who are very interested in sports. We have some who are ministers very interested in church and their community involvement. We have some that are very nontraditional,” she said. “It still fits. There’s always a child that seems to flourish in that environment.”

There are even ways to start out by short-term stays that allow fostering a child for briefer periods of time, often referred to as respite fostering.

“Maybe the regular foster family may be going away for the weekend,” Hall said.

Although in most instances like planned vacations, many families choose to take their foster children with them, but there are times, like perhaps a death in the family, in which the family cannot take the foster children along, he said.

“So, we’ll have families that are willing to do respite for the weekend,” he said. “We’ve had families start as that, just wanting to try it out and see if it’s something they’re comfortable doing.”

There are plenty of opportunities to help out with children in the area, both long-term and short-term.

“If you’re at all interested … let’s talk about it,” Kaczynski said.

For more information, call 570-326-0532.