WADDINGTON, N.Y. (WWTI) — Fostering is what brought St. Lawrence County resident Kathy Maybee to her five-year-old son.

Kathy has been fostering toddler-age children since 2015. In the seven years, she has supported 15 kids, eventually adopting her son last week.

“I always said I wanted to protect children, so this was my way of helping out,” she explained. “I do it for the little ones, I do it for the kids.”

The two, along with Kathy’s other foster child were attendees at the Children’s Home of Jefferson County’s Fostering Futures picnic, an annual gathering that brought together local foster families.

The program provides long and short-term services for youth unable to be care for by their birth families or legal guardian. But according to Program Support Services Coordinator Malissa Hale, the current need is dire.

“We’re always getting referrals, usually on a daily basis,” Hale said. “There ar children who need safe, temporary homes and a family who is willing to work with them, through any of those challenges.

To overcome any challenges, the Children’s Home works to provide a community for foster parents and families, to connect them with parents like Kathy.

“We want to make sure our foster parents feel supported,” Hale added. “Feel supported by the agency, feel supported by one and other, and just give them the sense that ‘I’m not in this alone.”

Kathy said she has always felt supported by her community of foster families. When asked, she said she will continue to foster for many years to come.

“I will probably keep doing it until I can’t do it anymore,” Kathy stated.

The Children’s Home of Jefferson County’s Fostering Futures Program is currently seeking interested parents in Jefferson, Lewis, Oswego, Oneida, St. Lawrence and Franklin counties.

More information can be found on the organization’s website.