PSWS students make a difference in the lives of foster children

Area children entering foster care will have some things of their own to take with them when they are being placed thanks to the initiative of students in Penn State Worthington Scranton's Community Service Club (CSC).

CSC members Emily Finnerty and Rikki Budzinski, both Human Development and Family Studies majors, took a classroom discussion to heart and started a campus-wide initiative to find out what children entering foster care need, and get those items for them.

"Oftentimes, foster children enter foster care with little to nothing," said Dr. Melissa Labuda, an instructor in HDFS who had started the initial discussion in her class. "Hearing this prompted these two young ladies to contact CONCERN and find out what children entering foster care need."

CONCERN is a regional agency with offices in Scranton that was founded in 1978 as a pioneer of intensive foster care in our region. CONCERN believes that children placed into care should live in a traditional family setting in the community, rather than a residential or institutional setting, and has been at the forefront of innovative programs to meet the individual needs of the child.

Ms. Finnerty and Ms. Budzinski put together a list of items that were needed -- comfort items like stuffed animals and children's books, as well as necessities like blankets, socks, jackets, hats, gloves, and toiletries and set up collection sites in buildings across the campus.


The items donated will be used to create welcome bags for children entering foster care, according to Dr. Labuda.

The first collection has already resulted in one delivery to CONCERN, but those interested in helping out, can still donate items through the end of the month.

CONCERN has served over 15,000 children and youth in placement services, including over 1,500 into adoptive families. Through 17 service sites throughout eastern Pennsylvania and Maryland, CONCERN offers a growing array of adoption, counseling, foster care, and residential programs. Each day our placement services impact the lives of nearly 400 children and youth. Each year our counseling services touch the lives of approximately 4,000 individuals through a continuum of services.