Centre County commissioners hear presentation on foster care need

When Taylor Harris’ parents first told her the family was going to take in foster children, she had her doubts.

Five years and several children later, she has become an advocate for the cause.

Harris, a recent Grace Prep graduate, made a presentation to the Centre County Board of Commissioners at its meeting Tuesday, showing the need in the county for foster families.

“In the end, it’s probably one of the best decisions my family has made together,” she said.

What started as a graduation project has become more than that for Harris. She has presented her findings and her stories at several churches and a foster parent appreciation banquet, and she worked with the Penn State student run group “Every Child Needs A Champion.”

She told the story of a young boy who was not keen on the idea of staying with a foster family, but his behavior improved by the end.

“We know that in the end, seeds were planted,” Harris said, “and that, hopefully, we had an impact on his life.”

Harris encouraged any households thinking about becoming foster families to give it a try. Though she said it can be challenging at times, it’s very rewarding for the whole family.

Board Chairman Steve Dershem praised Harris and her efforts in raising awareness.

“You are an incredibly eloquent young woman and a tremendous ambassador for foster care,” he told her after her presentation.

Harris showed a video that will be shared on the county’s website.

In the end, Harris reiterated that it is all about the children, who need loving attention.

“These kids need us,” she said. “They need good, loving homes.”