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February 27, 1987 - Image 42

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-02-27

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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.

-

42

Friday, February 27, 1987

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Rabbi Bergstein, however,
feels that in the Jewish com-
munity, surrounded by love
and compassion, Stacy and
Lisa could combine both needs.
The question of religion is not
something additional, some-
thing added on, he argued.
"Jewish people see it as a part
of their life. It is a question of
the survival of our people and
of the children, and I believe
that for the children to be in a
Jewish environment, the same
as that in which their parents
grew up, will aid their mental
health.
Eugene Thompson, chief of
adoption and foster care for
Oakland County Probate
Court, said that in the 10 years
he has been with the court he
has not had more than two re-
quests to place a Jewish child
in a Jewish foster home, nor
more than half-a-dozen re-
quests for any other religious
placement. Wherever possible,
these requests are honored,
especially if the child or parent
specifically requests it.
Children taken into custody
by Protective Services, as were
Stacy and Lisa; become tem-
porary wards of the court, and
as such may be placed in a fos-
ter home by the court or may be
assigned to the state's De-
partment of Social Services
(DSS).
Donald Bachman, services
program specialist for Oakland
County DSS, stated that less
than one percent of the foster
children coming through the
system are Jewish, but that
when religion is a concern, it is
up to the parent or child to
make it known.
Officials at Oakland DSS
said that there are many times
when parents do not inform the
agency of religious preference,
nor are they able to find out
about a child's religious or cul-
tural background. DSS offi-
cials emphasized that when a
foster parents' religion differs
from that of the child, the fos-
ter parents must be notified of

this difference.
State of Michigan guidelines
require foster parents to com-
ply with the religious needs of
their charge, according to the
wishes of the natural parents
or the agency responsible for
the child's care.
According to Jeanne Walter,
a section manager for Oakland
County DSS, the agency does
have a couple of Jewish foster
homes, but could always use
more. She explained that foster
families licensed by DSS have
the option of stating the kind of
children they want and
whether they will take chil-
dren of a particular religion, or
of any religion.
If DSS finds that it does not
have a foster home available to
meet the special needs of a par-
ticular child, Walter contin-
ued, it has a contract with
other private agencies, such as
the Orchards, to place foster
children in their homes. The
Orchards, a non-sectarian
agency sponsored by the Na-
tional Council of Jewish
Women, places both Jewish
and non-Jewish children in
residential and foster homes.
Miriam Berenstein, pro-
gram supervisor of the licens-
ing department for the Or-
chards, concurs with DSS offi-
cials that there are very few
Jewish children in the foster
care system. She feels that this
is because the Jewish commu-
nity takes care of its own.
"Kids who are unable to live
at home either go to live with
relatives or the families have
other resources available to
them," she explained.
Berenstein said there are no
Jewish children in the agency's
foster care system at this time
"because we haven't been
asked," but added that there
are Jewish kids in its three
residential homes.
"Kids come to us by contract
either through the Oakland
County DSS, the Oakland
County Probate Court, the
Wayne County DSS or the

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