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Two caring women honored as Montgomery County Foster Parents of the Year

During Foster Parent Appreciation Month, two Montgomery County women were honored for their caring efforts.

Emma Patterson was praised by Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich for her 33 years as a foster parent. The 88-year-old woman will soon end her foster care work when the child currently in her care graduates from high school.

She has cared for more than 30 children and was honored at a ceremony led by the Department of Health for serving as a foster parent for 33 years. Patterson, 88, will retire after the child currently in her care graduates high school.

Patterson has cared for more than 30 children and was honored as Montgomery County Foster Parent of the Year by the Maryland Department of Human Services.

Also honored was Susan Otto of Olney. She was named Foster Parent of the Year in Montgomery County by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Government (COG).

Otto has been a special education teacher in Montgomery County Public Schools for 27 years and is currently a physician in the infant and toddler program.

She cares for two brothers and previously cared for a child for three years.

“From day one, Susan was a natural foster parent. As a special vocational trainer, she is comfortable with behavior change, setting boundaries and helping children feel safe. Susan is flexible, loving, realistic and gifted in her ability to meet the special needs of our children,” the COG said.

“She takes every opportunity to work with the boys to build skills, work on behavior and manage the scars of trauma. Susan is also a great resource for other foster parents and knows how to get the support and information she needs,” COG noted in announcing her honor.

Elrich is a foster parent for two individuals with developmental disabilities.

Child welfare organizations strive to keep families together. Foster parents provide essential support to families when that is not possible. According to COG, foster parents can provide a safe, supportive refuge for children during otherwise uncertain and difficult times.

Montgomery County needs more foster parents. For information, click here.