On May 10, I wrote a story that said this:
A Glenside couple have been arrested after allegedly beating their 12-year-old foster child so badly that he needed 18 stitches to close a cut on his cheek.
Claybon and Renee Hawthorne, now arrested, were foster parents of a child who is under the care of the Philadelphia Department of Human Services, or DHS, the city's child-protection agency. What this incident illustrates, besides the alleged horrors many children face, is the need to find foster parents for older children. After that story ran, I got a call from a Montco resident who was interested in becoming just that to the child and so I referred her to the Philadelphia DHS. I don't know what happened with her, but DHS is holding an event I figure other people in these parts might be interested in attending.
On Thursday, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., at the Lenfest Center, 3890 N. 10th Street in Philadelphia, DHS will host a town hall meeting on fostering older children. The aim "is to explain the role of foster parents and discuss the urgent need for more foster homes for older youth," said DHS communications director Alicia Taylor. "The meeting will provide current and prospective foster parents with information that will help them learn more about the child welfare system and resources that will help them with fostering an older youth."
In Pennsylvania, Taylor said, 34 percent of the 13,000 of the children in foster care are 14 to 17 years old.