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The Children’s Home of Jefferson County received some help earlier this year from the state to develop a program for adopted children and their families to help address crises either before or after an adoption is finalized.

The 18-month, $398,961 award from the state Office of Children and Family Services, part of the 2011-12 Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Prevention and Post Adoption grants, allowed the agency to form a pre/post-adoption program for low-income families, according to Children’s Home Administration Services Director Barbara J. Peck.

The Children’s Home runs foster-care programs in both Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties. While an initial goal may be to reunite families after a child’s stay in foster care, returning home is not always suitable. Adoption by the foster family then becomes an option.

Mrs. Peck said the agency has offered many pre-adoption services, but no post-adoption services.

“Sometimes issues don’t come up until several years after an adoption is final,” she said.

The new program fills that gap in service for those who qualify. Everyone in the family would benefit from the post-adoption program, Mrs. Peck said, not just the adopted child or children. The agency is offering this program to low-income families, allowing them to have access to resources they might otherwise not be able to afford. People interested in applying for the program can call the Children’s Home at 788-7430.

Megan Badour, the agency’s pre/post-adoption support specialist, will lead the new program. According to the program brochure, key components include advocacy services, respite services, 24-hour assistance, counseling, casework contact, support groups, family goal setting and action plan development, implementing self-sufficiency plans, home visits, parent meetings, family training workshops, intensive assistance for special needs, a resource library with up-to-date information and educational opportunities. The program is available for families in Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties who meet program income guidelines.

“We’re hoping we can keep it going when the grant runs out,” Mrs. Peck said.

The Children’s Home will celebrate its new program from 7 to 9 p.m. Jan. 7 in the Sturtz Theater at Jefferson Community College, 1220 Coffeen St., when presenter Arthur Becker-Weidman will discuss attachment-facilitating parenting.

According to a Children’s Home news release, the first half of his presentation will go over the principles of trauma-informed treatment and phases of treatment and offer a case demonstration. Attendees later will learn about effects of trauma on child development and principles of effective parenting.

Mr. Becker-Weidman has focused on “the evaluation and treatment of adopted and foster children and their families, complex post-traumatic stress disorder and fetal alcohol syndrome,” according to the release. He received a doctoral degree from the University of Maryland’s Institute for Child Study. An adoptive parent of a 14-year-old boy from China, Mr. Becker-Weidman founded the Center for Family Development, Williamsville.

There will be no admission charge for the presentation, but reservations are requested by Jan. 4 and may be made by sending an email to Sherry Ruoff at sruoff@nnychildrenshome.com or calling the agency at 788-7430, ext. 3014.

The event is sponsored by the agency, Samaritan Medical Center, the Watertown Daily Times and Jefferson County Community Services.

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