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Make a difference: Foster families needed in Carbon County

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    Merakay, a nonprofit organization that specializes in foster care services is expanding into the Carbon County area and is in need of families who would be willing to open their hearts and homes to a child in need. COURTESY OF METROGRAPHICS

Published June 03. 2019 12:48PM


A nonprofit organization that specializes in serving children who cannot live with their families is expanding into the Carbon County area and is in need of loving families who are willing to open their homes to their clients.

Merakey is a developmental, behavioral health, and education provider offering a number of integrated services to individuals and communities across the country. It serves Monroe, Pike, Northampton, Luzerne, Lehigh and Carbon counties.

“We are constantly in need of new parents as the children are continuously placed out of their homes,” said Karen James, clinical supervisor, adding that at this time, Merakey does not have any foster families in Carbon County and is hoping to change that.

Foster care

The Merakey Foster Care program utilizes an integrated clinical support team to serve families working with children and adolescents who cannot live with their own families. The program allows children to achieve their fullest potential by training and assisting families to provide the highest level of care.

It helps meet the unique needs of foster families by providing crisis support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, holding frequent support groups specifically tailored to foster parents, providing quality pre-service and ongoing trainings, as well as a generous tax-free daily stipend and expense reimbursement significantly higher than traditional foster care agencies.

At Merakey, there are two types of foster care — therapeutic family care and foster care plus.

Therapeutic family care provides clients with a pathway to repair and rebuild the relationship between children and their biological families through therapy, treatment meetings, case management and integration in the home and community.

Foster care plus is a traditional form of foster care services and is for children in the child welfare system.


James said that Merakey is always looking for both individuals and families who would like to become a foster parent.

To become a foster parent, families must be at least 21 years old, have Pennsylvania Child Abuse and Criminal clearances, obtain an FBI fingerprint clearance, pass a physical by a medical doctor, have reliable transportation and a valid driver’s license, prove financial stability without the stipend from being a foster parent, and agree to be an active participant of the child’s treatment team.

Want to know more?

If anyone has questions about becoming a foster parent, Merakey staff is available and questions are encouraged.

James can be reached at the Stroudsburg office at 570-424-8119, option 6 and then 2 or by email at; or Colleen Rieger at the Bethlehem office at 484-241-0298 or

There is also a step-by-step guide to starting the process, which can be found at


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