Overhauling Foster Care in Broome County.

By WBNG News

July 22, 2010 Updated Jan 5, 2010 at 7:14 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Broome County is overhauling its foster care system.

Starting this month, it will use a private firm to save taxpayers money.

Action News reporter Reed Buterbaugh tells us what brought about the change.

Last year, 20 Department of Social Services employees took early retirement.

The loss of manpower lead to the Children's Home in Hillcrest assuming much of the county's responsibilities.

"So we came up with a creative way to get the work done that we're mandated to do," said Art Johnson, Commissioner of Social Services. "Save the county some money and make it happen in a way that is seamless to the children that we serve."

Saving Broome County around 80,000 dollars.

Connecting foster children with a family will now be easier and more efficient.

"We're still mandated to have a foster home available when a children is deemed in need of a foster home," Johnson said. "So our staff will take care of that and the Children's Home will operate the home."

"Now they'll just make a phone call to the Children's Home," said Donald Bowersox, Deputy Commissioner for Services. "The Children's Home will select an appropriate foster home and the child will be placed. There will be really no difference for the foster parents."

The Children's Home will spend the next two months analyzing the county's system and adjusting their own to fit the need.

"Homes for Broome County over the next couple months will transfer over to our agency and we'll re-certify them provide them with the training," said Chip Houser, CEO for The Children's Home.

125 children from 88 homes will now come under the watch of the Children's Home.

"So that's sort of double what we have now for us getting a complete list of the children, the homes that they're in, making sure that we have all of the correct addresses so we can set up a process," Houser said.

Houser says using private foster care service is primarily found downstate.

But is becoming an increasing trend throughout New York.

To deal with the rise of foster children it's monitoring, The Children's Home plans on adding four or five positions.

Its hoping to hire former County Department of Social Services workers.

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