VAN WERT — The Marsh Foundation was started nearly 100 years ago in Van Wert to help children in need. Today, the foundation helps place children in foster care, among other services. As of the new year, the foundation will also be able to help make the process more seamless for foster families and children hoping to make their new combined family permanent through adoption.
As of 2017, the foundation will be able to give dual licensure to homes for foster care and adoption, making the evaluation process quicker for families.
“A lot of our kids start in foster care and if the reunification plan does not work out, adoption becomes an option,” Marsh Foundation foster care supervisor Melissa Gearhart said. “With our homes being dually licensed, these kids will be able to remain in the home they have grown comfortable in throughout foster care, and the foster parents will already have the training and requirements met so the adoption can move along quicker than if they didn’t already have that certification.”
This licensure can be obtained by potential adoptive families regardless of whether they have a foster child living in their home. By already having the required certification for both foster care and adoptive placement, it would make those households a more ideal placement destination.
“This is becoming more of a norm,” Gearhart said. “It’s easier for the parents in doing it from the get-go. We’re being proactive instead of reactive in helping these kids long-term.”
While the Marsh Foundation is primarily centered in the Van Wert region, it assists children and families throughout the state. Gearhart said, however, that the need is still great to find foster and adoptive homes for children. Going through the foster care route can be beneficial to families looking to grow through adoption but are unable to meet the high costs of private adoption, according to Gearhart.
“Through the foster system, there is no cost to the foster parents if they choose to adopt,” she said. “So for a lot of people who cannot have kids and cannot afford private adoption, foster to adopt may be their only option for having a permanent family.”
To learn about foster and adoption services through the Marsh Foundation, go to http://marshfoundation.org.
Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.