Holmesburg Civic hears about foster parenting

Laura Wagner came to Holmesburg Civic Association’s December meeting to try to recruit foster parents.

Wagner is supervisor of parent recruitment and community relations for First Home Care, which is based at the Friends Hospital campus at 4641 Roosevelt Blvd.

The agency has been in existence since 1991. It serves children ages 5 to 17, though exceptions can be made if there are older or younger siblings.

Thirty hours of free training and round-the-clock support are provided for foster parents.

To be eligible, an individual must be age 21 or older; financially stable; able to provide adequate living space; able to pass child abuse and criminal checks; and willing to work with children with emotional and behavioral challenges.

“It has to be a calling,” Wagner said.

First Home Care contracts with the city Department of Human Services. It is licensed by the state Department of Public Welfare. It’s a member of the Philadelphia Council for Children, Youth and Family Services and the Pennsylvania State Foster Parent Association.

“Our goal is to keep kids out of institutional settings. Kids do better in communities and loving homes,” Wagner said.

Parents receive a small monthly stipend to raise the child.

“It’s not like a part-time job or extra money. You have to be in it with your heart,” Wagner said of the effort.

Courts determine whether biological parents have visitation rights.

For more information, call 215–305–4854 or visit www.fhcpennsylvania.com

In other news from the Dec. 11 civic meeting:

• Sgt. Edward Ammons, of the 15th Police District, introduced himself to the group. He has been in the 15th for less than two weeks.

A woman asked Ammons about a couple of recent incidents of people allegedly impersonating officers. The individuals drive in vehicles with flashing lights and use them to pull over motorists.

“If you’re concerned, always ask for a marked police car,” he said.

While civic association members will miss Capt. Frank Bachmayer, who was transferred, Ammons said they will like the new commander, Capt. John McCloskey, a longtime supervisor in the 35th Police District.

“He’s a district captain. He’s aware of district problems,” he said.

• Rudy Muller, the community relations officer in the 8th Police District, was asked why squad cars have steady red and blue lights on at night.

Muller said the practice has been successful in other cities.

“It’s basically for a deterrent,” he said.

A woman complained about a hooker on Rhawn Street, which is the dividing line between the 8th and 15th police districts.

“This woman was working both sides,” she said.

Muller said officers from his district would respond to such cases, even if the woman was on the 15th district side of the street, adding that his counterparts would handle the matter in the same way if she was on the 8th district side.

• The district offices of state Rep. Kevin Boyle (D-172nd dist.) are collecting canned goods and non-perishable food items to distribute to local food banks at Christmas time.

The offices are located at 7518 Frankford Ave. (215–331–2600) and 7801 Hasbrook Ave. (215–695–1016).

• The Tacony/Holmesburg Town Watch is seeking members. For more information, visit www.tactw.org or check out the Tacony Town Watch page on Facebook.

• Holmesburg Civic Association will meet on Tuesday, Jan. 8, at 7:15 p.m., at Holmesburg Recreation Center, at Rhawn and Ditman streets. ••

Reporter Tom Waring can be reached at 215–354–3034 or twaring@bsmphilly.com