STEUBENVILLE - Duane Sims, who was in the county's foster care system since he was 7 years old, told foster parents at the annual foster parent recognition luncheon Thursday that being a foster child made him become mature much faster.
Jefferson County Job and Family Services, Children Services Division, annually holds a luncheon to thank foster parents for their dedication and work. There are 17 foster homes in the county, serving about 25 children.
Elizabeth Ferron, county Job and Family Services director, said foster parents get calls in the middle of the night to take in a child. "You open your doors and make them feel so comfortable," she said.
FAMILY REUNION — Jefferson County Job and Family Services, Children Services Division, held its annual foster parent recognition luncheon on Thursday to thank foster parents for their dedication and work. Duane Sims, left, the guest speaker, and his foster mother, Terri Foglia of Wintersville, and Sims’ brother, Christopher, who also was fostered by Foglia, spent time together prior to the luncheon. - Mark Law
Jefferson County Commissioner David Maple told the foster parents they receive many hours of training that takes a real commitment.
"It is an emotional commitment that is made from the heart," he said.
Sims, now an adult living in Bergholz, said he bounced from house to house as a young child in foster care.
"I had been in foster care so long that I forgot I was even there," he said.
He said foster children, especially at a young age, tend to blame themselves for doing something wrong that resulted in them being placed in foster care.
"You never blame the parent. You always blame yourself," he said.
Sims was placed with Terri Foglia of Wintersville, where he spent seven years. His brother, Christopher, also was fostered in the Foglia home.
"In Terri's home, there was love. When you came home at the end of a hard day, there wasn't a conflict building," he said.
Foglia said she never considered Duane a foster child. "He is a son," she said.
Sims said he sees other young adults who went through the foster care system that made the wrong decisions as an adult.
"I could have gone the negative route and beat myself up. Foster care is not that bad. I never looked at myself like a foster child. What really hurts the most is I really don't know why I was in foster care," he said.
May is Foster Parent Recognition Month in Jefferson County.