Oswego County looking for qualified foster parents as number of kids in need rises

Local News

MEXICO, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Wendy and Wade Smith say they had no intention of adopting children when they signed up to be foster parents 11 years ago.

The couple from Oswego already had four children of their own.

The 2019 family photo is much more crowded these days. The Smith’s just adopted their ninth child giving them four biological and five adopted children, all of which were foster kids with the family.

“It wasn’t our plan to adopt, but as these kids become part of your life…” Wade Smith said with a smile. “It really is a privilege. You know you think– you’re taking in these kids and this is what you’re doing for these kids. It is what they do for you and the opportunity to receive love. To come along side these kids as they’re in a little bit of a hard spot.”

Families like the Smith family are needed in Oswego now more than ever. According to the Oswego County Department of Social Services, the number of children in need of foster care has grown from 50 kids to nearly 200 in the last five years. The organization has posted the status below more than 20 times this year in an effort to find parents.

“I attribute a lot of that to the trauma in our community,” said Marti Babcock, Deputy Commissioner of Oswego County Department of Social Services. “The trauma caused by the drug epidemic we are seeing. There is a lot of poverty in our community as well. Over 50 percent of the households we are working with in the foster care system are struggling with substance abuse issues.”

There are roughly 75 people who are registered foster parents in Oswego County currently.

To learn more about how you can become a foster parent, click here.

Oswego County DSS is launching a new program, Fostering Futures NY. It is designed to help foster parents. To learn more about the program, click here.

Watch Wade and Wendy’s story of becoming foster parents below:

For more local news, follow Josh Martin on Twitter @JoshMartinNC9

More from NewsChannel 9:

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Live Doppler 9 Map Center

CNY View

CNY View

CNY View

Oswego Area

Oswego Area

Syracuse Area

Syracuse Area