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Letter from Susan Tennenhouse re: Marymound Treatment Foster Care Program-In Response to Beth Goldberg's remarks

by Susan Tennenhouse, posted Nov 29, 2012

I read Beth Goldberg’s remarks regarding Jewish children in foster homes in your September 27 Features Section covering the CGA Campaign kickoff event with great interest.
 
As the Program Manager of Marymound’s Treatment Foster Care Program (TFC), I share many of the concerns Ms. Goldberg expressed. Her statements served to reinforce our foster care team in the work we do every day with Jewish youth and children in our community.
 
Marymound has distinguished itself as the leader among child welfare agencies since its founding by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd in 1911. In our 101 years, we have worked with over 60,000 young people and families from across Manitoba, providing a nurturing, safe ad empowering environment for all the youth who come to us.
 
Marymound youth placed in TFC live as part of a family. Twenty-four hour care is provided in the homes of individuals, couples and families who have specialized training and/or expertise in working with boys and girls who are at risk. We provide services to young people and families of all backgrounds. 
 
Ms. Goldberg is correct when she says that there are not enough Jewish foster families available for the quantity of Jewish children requiring care. Marymound and the TFC Program work closely with Jewish Child and Family Service (JCFS) to provide children and youth in the community with stability, a sense of belonging, emotional and physical well-being, treatment and help in establishing their Jewish identity. We have Jewish and non-Jewish foster homes in our program.
 
Below are some of the ways we provide the youth with a connection to the Jewish community:
 
-We work closely with JCFS to ensure that children attend Passover Seders, celebrate Chanukah and other Jewish holidays.
-Children in our program celebrate spiritual milestones such a Bar and Bat Mitzvahs.
-With the support of their foster parents, the children attend religious education classes and take part in Tzadakeh projects.
-When possible, children attend Jewish day school or Hebrew-Bilingual programs.
-Youth participate in B’nai B’rith Youth organizations.
-Children and youth attend B’nai B’rith Camp and Camp Massad.
-Youth attend the March of the living and the grade nine trips to Washington.
 
We are able to carry out these programs with the support of the JCFS and the larger Jewish community.
 
Al Bennaroch, Jewish Child and Family Service’s clinical Director reinforces our work: “Marymound has always been responsive in working collaboratively with JCFS in meeting the physical, emotional and cultural needs of our commi9nity’s foster children placed in their care. Their understanding of the importance of also attending to cultural needs has ensured that our Jewish foster children who must be placed outside of their community develop solid identities as Jews.”
 
We are proud of our efforts and thank you and Ms. Goldberg for this opportunity to share the extent of our services with your readership.
 
Sincerely,
Susan Tennenhouse, B.X.W.,
Manager,
Marymound Treatment Foster Care Program,
447 Scotia Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba, R2V 1X5
Phone:  204-336-5509
Fax: 204-589-6061
 
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