Gateway Longview Foster Care & Adoption
Gateway Longview is a non-profit agency that offers foster care & adoption services in Buffalo, NY. Gateway Longview’s services include foster care, therapeutic foster care, respite care, and adoption services for families and individuals in Erie County.
In the state of New York, 20,543 children were in Foster Care on December 31, 2012 (Office of Children & Family Services). A majority of these children were removed from their homes due to neglect, physical abuse and/or sexual abuse. The courts remove children due to an imminent risk of harm and authorize Child Protective Services (CPS) to place children into foster care. Gateway-Longview is a private, non-profit agency who contracts with Erie County Department of Social Services and other agencies throughout the region to provide safe, nurturing foster homes with the goal of fostering safety, hope, healing and growth in these children and families.
Foster care is the temporary care of children by certified foster parents until children can be returned to their families, to kinship caregivers, or are old enough to transition into an independent living setting or are placed for adoption. Children needing care range from infants to 21 years of age. The length of stay in a foster home varies for each child, however ranges from days to years, and in some circumstances can be forever, if adopted by their foster parent.
The foster care team seeks to ensure that each child in foster care is carefully matched with their foster family. In addition, families involved in the program receive the best therapeutic services and supports necessary to achieve permanence. The primary goal of children entering foster care is to return to their parent(s).
Therapeutic Foster Care
Children are placed in therapeutic foster homes for primarily the same reasons as they are placed into foster care. However, children in need of therapeutic foster care typically require a higher level of care. Children placed in therapeutic foster care tend to have more complex behavioral and emotional needs and/or intensive medical needs. The permanency goals for children requiring therapeutic care is similar to children placed in foster care.
Foster Care Respite is a support that is offered to all families certified through Gateway-Longview. If a foster family is in need of a break, or is planning to be out of town, etc. another trained and certified family can provide temporary care of the children.
Some Gateway-Longview families decide to specialize in providing respite care, while others decide to accept children in need of respite placements, as well as long term foster care, therapeutic foster care and/or adoptive placements.
Adoption through foster care provides a forever home for children who are unable to return to their birth parent(s) or other relatives. If a child becomes freed for adoption, many foster families will make the decision to adopt. Some children cannot be adopted by their foster families and then the foster family’s role is to assist in helping the child prepare to move to their forever family. This process involves careful matching to ensure the adoptive family has the strengths necessary to meet the children’s needs.
Some families identify themselves as both foster and adoptive parents, while other families are strictly certified for the sake of adopting children awaiting a forever family. Families certified for foster care and adoption are called “Resource Parents.”
Private Adoption Home Studies & Post-Placement Visits
Families who choose to adopt privately (i.e. through an attorney, adoption agency, etc.) can request the completion of a private adoption home study through Gateway-Longview for a nominal fee. A home study is a written report containing a comprehensive assessment completed by a social worker in collaboration with the prospective adoptive parents. The social worker visits the prospective adoptive parent’s home and assesses many areas of their lives, such as their physical environment, health/medical, criminal, family and background of the adoptive parents and other household members. The purpose of a private home study is to help the court determine whether the adoptive parents are qualified to adopt a child, based on the criterion that has been established by state law.
When adopting privately, post placement visits are often requested after a child has been placed in a home as they wait for the adoption finalization. During this time a social worker would be assigned to visit the home to assess the child and family’s adjustment, help provide education and support and gather all information and documentation required for the pending finalization of the adoption. The social worker that is assigned may visit the home several times during this period, depending on the legal requirements. More information about adoption home studies can be found at https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/f_homstu.cfm.
For more information about Gateway Longview’s Foster Care & Adoption Services, please call (716) 783-2909.