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Blair County Children, Youth and Families recognizes local parents

Blair County Children, Youth and Families (CYF) recognized "outstanding" families on Wednesday who have made an impact on children's lives, according to Clerical Unit Supervisor Kerrie Baughman.

HOLLIDAYSBURG -- Blair County Children, Youth and Families recognized "outstanding" families on Wednesday who have made an impact on children's lives, according to clerical unit supervisor Kerrie Baughman.

Each family was presented with an award of appreciation for five categories including, Outstanding Foster Care Family for Younger Youth, Outstanding New Foster Care Family for Older Youth, Outstanding New Foster Care Family Within The Past Three Years, Outstanding Kinship Care Family and Outstanding Adoptive Family.

Baughman called the families "outstanding, remarkable and wonderful."

These families go above and beyond," she said, adding, "Some have even re-constructed their homes to make more space."

Elizabeth Montgomery's family was one of several honored at a ceremony and dinner at the U.S. Hotel Tavern.

She's a mom of five.

Montgomery was a foster parent and a kinship parent before adopting four of her children.

The kinship care experience allows children to be under the care of someone they already know, or someone who is familiar with the child's biological family.

Montgomery thinks Kinship gives children more consistency than foster care.

"Being with somebody they're already familiar with. It helps to keep that connection open between the family they're living with, as well as the family they were born into," Montgomery said.

She said being a foster parent comes with challenges.

"You have good days and bad days," she said, adding, "It takes a lot of time, and it takes a lot of heart. Sometimes you feel like you don't have any left, but whenever you see progress you're making with that child, you know it's worth it because you've planted a seed. You've made a difference that they're going to carry with them wherever they go," Montgomery said.

CYF needs more families who are willing to take in local children and teens, according to Baughman.

"They help while we (CYF) help these families get what they need to get back home," she said.

"There are way too many children out in this world who do not know the love of a family. They don't know what it's like to have a mom and dad who care about them. They don't know what it's like to sit down together for a family meal," Montgomery said.

Like many other kids, she said her two sons had been in a group home before living with her. "It wasn't a family setting, it was an institutional setting," she said, adding, "They need a family."

Baughman said people can contact CYF if they're interested in opening their homes and becoming a foster parent, kinship parent or adoptive parent.

The CYF Office can be reached at (814) 693-3130.

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