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Hundreds of Connecticut Teens in Need of Loving Homes

WATERBURY, Conn. (April 25, 2024) – May is National Foster Care Month, an annual observance to recognize and support children, youth, and families in the foster care system. Wheeler’s Foster Care team serves youth and families in Waterbury and eight surrounding towns to provide youth, ages 6 to 17, with stable, safe, caring environments for shorter periods of time or potentially longer.

“On any given day in Connecticut, there are about 3,100 children in foster care, and many more who do not have a place to call home,” said Sharon Pendleton-Ponzani, LCSW, director, Wheeler Foster Care Services. “This annual observance helps to underscore this need.

“Foster families, even for shorter durations, can have real impact,” Pendleton-Ponzani added. “More than addressing a child’s basic needs, such as food, clothing, and shelter, foster families can become ‘extended family’ and provide the kind of meaningful care and support to help youth in their life journey.”

Wheeler’s Foster Care program uses the evidence-based Functional Therapy Foster Care Model (FFT Partners) that helps youth in foster care and their families develop skills for lifelong success. Wheeler works with families and others who are important to the youth to help create a healthy support system. The goal is to create stability for the youth while developing their long-term plan, whether that be returning home, or moving to another permanent option.

The model strives to maintain a stable foster placement for six to nine months on average, or potentially, for a longer duration, while the team also works to help move the youth back to their birth family or an adoptive home. A dedicated team of professionals provides weekly in-home sessions with youth and families as well as 24/7 on-call coverage support for the foster family. Support groups, ongoing training, and coordination of services for youth also
are provided.

Wheeler’s Foster Care program serves youth and families in: Beacon Falls, Middlebury, Naugatuck, Oxford, Prospect, Southbury, Waterbury, Wolcott, and Woodbury. There is a great need for new foster homes in this region to help local children, particularly teenagers.

Studies show that teens who age out of foster care or who do not have more permanent, loving attachments are at increased risk for homelessness, young parenthood, low educational attainment, high unemployment rates, human trafficking, and other adverse adult outcomes.

To learn more about becoming a foster parent through Wheeler, contact Wheeler’s Recruitment team at 860.793.7277, or email or visit: