Marion County Children Services
Safe Children. Strong Families. Supportive Communities.
Marion County Children Services is an organization with one goal: to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the children in the area. The agency got its start in Marion in 1900 when Mr. Benjamin Waddell purchased land and built the Marion County Children’s home as a gift to the county. Prior to the erection of the children’s home at Mr. Waddell’s private expense, there was no safe place for orphaned and abandoned children. As time passed and new research and studies came to light, the system was restructured to place children in the most family-like settings. Today, all kids are placed in the least restrictive, most family-like setting.
Elizabeth found her calling to Children Services while working at a camp designed for kids in the foster care system.
Removing a child from his or her home is traumatizing. The agency prioritizes placing children with kinship families; however, when necessary, must then seek foster placement. Community Engagement Coordinator, Elizabeth Moore is tasked with educating the community on updates and changes within the agency and recruiting foster parents. Elizabeth was born and raised in Marion. When she started working at a summer camp at the urging of her grandmother, her eyes were opened to the world of foster care. A child in her counseling group needed some extra attention. Throughout the week, Elizabeth and the camper bonded and by the end, were nearly inseparable. When Elizabeth learned the child was in foster care, it prompted her to research the agency. She and her husband Ben had a background in youth ministry and knew becoming foster parents would be a good fit. Elizabeth explains, “We had no idea what we were getting into, but we knew it was what we were meant to do. We were facing some fertility and pregnancy issues at the time, but it only increased our desire to help other families as we were starting our own. I had no idea how truly life changing the process would be.”
Marion County Children Services partners with local organizations to offer classes and support to foster parents and the community.
After completing the application packet, home study, and coursework, the Moores were licensed foster parents. Eager to get involved, Elizabeth started accepting every call for potential placements. One day she got a call for a sibling group with 6 week old twins, and the Moore household went from zero to four kids overnight. Elizabeth was studying social work at the time and, with the support and flexibility of her family and professors, she completed her degree and accepted a position at Marion County Children Services handling active case investigations. After completing her Masters, Elizabeth held a few other positions at the agency before taking on her current role. She and her husband Ben are also co-directors of For The Kids, a summer camp and organization providing trauma intervention, advocacy, support, and other services to those in the foster care community.
In the state of Ohio, the ultimate goal of Children Services is reunification, but unfortunately sometimes that is not an option. The need for willing foster parents continues to rise. Adam and Jessica Sornchai always knew they wanted to explore foster care and adoption. They started the process of becoming foster parents and completed the program in 2017. A few days after receiving their license and certification, they got a placement. The Sornchais welcomed young Alessandra and Lailah into their home not knowing what to expect. Adam remembers the adjustment, “You’re trying to adjust to being parents, getting to know them, and setting that sense of structure and stability that they need. There are other dynamics when you’re working within the foster case system, but despite its challenges, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve often articulated it as the holiest disruption in my life.”
The Sornchai Family
Foster parents come from all backgrounds with a variety of lifestyles. Prospective foster parents can be single or married with a minimum age requirement of 18. There are no income or employment requirements as long as applicants are financially stable. Jessica Sornchai puts it best, “If you are worried about getting too attached, you would make a great foster parent.”
“There are other dynamics when you’re working within the foster case system, but despite its challenges, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve often articulated it as the holiest disruption in my life.”
Foster & Adoptive Parent
If you are interested in learning more about foster care, needing information on reporting abuse, or need general information, contact Marion Children Services at (740)-389-2317 or visit online at marionkids.com
Elizabeth and Ben Moore are co-directors for For The Kids, a non-profit geared toward providing assistance to children in the foster care system.