The Daily Item
One percent of the population is or was in foster care. Fifty
percent of the homeless population once was in foster care.
Those statistics, and the fact that he once was a foster child,
jump-started Christopher Chmielewski, of Watsontown, owner
and editor of Foster Focus Magazine, into turning his idea of
starting the first monthly magazine about foster care into a
"I was adopted," he said. "I was in care. I aged out of care.
That's how it started."
Chris has a lot of personal knowledge of the benefits of the Foster Care program because he was a
foster child, who has a background in journalism and design, saw a need for a source of foster care
information and took it upon himself to produce the first monthly national foster care magazine.
“There are about 432,000 kids out there in foster care and probably about one million people who
helped out with them in various ways and I found out that there really was not a central source of
information where one could go to get information about foster care and all that is involved in it,”
Chris told Webb Weekly. “I thought that I would like to use some of my journalism and design skills
to put together some type of publication that would help to provide that needed information to those
who wanted to know more about foster care and how to become a foster parent. It is a wonderful
program and there is a crying need for foster parents to adopt children out there, but does not
necessarily mean a permanent adoption. It could be for short periods of time.”
WATSONTOWN -- Once you're in the foster care system, you really don't
ever leave it, said Chris Chmielewski, a Watsontown man who entered the
Northumberland County network when he was 14.
Though now a 33-year-old married father of three, foster care is "always a
part of you in some way," he said. "Something will happen or you find
yourself in some situation, and you revert back to when you were in care."
That's part of the reason behind his founding Foster Focus magazine, a
monthly publication devoted to foster care for both givers and receivers.
The magazine debuted in May and quickly became popular among the
community, so much so that Chmielewski finds himself already dealing with
university professors, legal experts, even celebrities all wanting to contribute.
|Life Lessons Come Into
Our final blog post for our National Foster Care Month blog series on teen males is a profile of foster
care alumni and Foster Focus Magazine publisher Christopher Chmielewski. Christopher was adopted
at an early age and grew up in the “coal region” of Pennsylvania. He entered foster care as a teen and
eventually “aged-out” of the system. Once Christopher aged out of foster care, he was expelled from
school just a few weeks short of his high school graduation. This did not deter Christopher from
continuing his education. He received his equivalency diploma and registered for college the day after
achieving this goal. Christopher could have remained in foster care until age 21 but elected to leave
because he had begun to feel like a burden on the foster parents who welcomed him into their family.
|Busy Few Months, Still Updating.
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