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Local News

June 23, 2014

Foster parenting: Tough job, growing demand

North Country need surges as heroin use increases

MOIRA — Lisa Gervais became a foster parent to help disadvantaged children thrive.

And along the way, she learned a lot about herself, her family and the community.

Her home in Moira is one of 23 foster homes certified by the Franklin County Department of Social Services. Seven more foster homes are pending certification, and 15 have been established with relatives of children in the system. 

Officials say the need for such homes continues to grow as the North Country faces an alarming increase in heroin use.

Parents unable or unwilling to care for their kids because of their addiction to the drug are forcing more and more kids into the foster-care system and driving up costs for local taxpayers.  

HELP KIDS COPE

Lisa and her husband, Scott, have five kids of their own but opened their hearts and home to foster children whose parents struggle to raise them.

Many were removed from their homes by Social Services because of a parent’s drug use.

But foster families are told little about the child’s home situation when they are placed. Instead, they try to find out what the children need to cope with the upheaval and how to make them part of the new, temporary family.

STRONG PULL OF DRUGS

“I thought I’d give these kids a good meal, healthy habits and some structure and the children would be so thankful,” Lisa said.

“And Scott always said, ‘You’re looking at it through rose-colored glasses. You can’t fix everything.’

“I had the feeling I’d change the world and that the families would be so upset that their child was gone that they would do anything to get them back,” she said. “If I was in the same situation, I’d be doing the same thing.

“But I was wrong. That’s not the case.”

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