Local Couple Awarded For Helping Children In Foster Care

Local Couple Awarded For Helping Children In Foster Care

At any given time in Ontario County, 75 children are in foster care and one couple is making a difference in many of their lives.
At any given time in Ontario County, 75 children are in foster care and one couple is making a difference in many of their lives. 

Gary and Cate Ingalls have been foster parents for nearly a decade and have taken in more than a dozen children. They actively recruit other people to foster children and counsel other parents. The Ingalls hope the story of their family will inspire others to help children in need. 

"It's fulfilled my life because I didn't have children before," Gary said.

The Ingalls family grew overnight- literally.

"We asked for an older child between the ages of 5 and 10; on a Friday night we got a phone call from our case worker who asked us about three children whose ages did not add up to 10," Cate said.

The Ingalls took on the challenge, signing on to foster Kristen, David and Dakota. That was eight years ago.

"We said if the time comes and they're freed for adoption we'll know what the right decision is; and low and behold they became freed for adoption," Cate said.

Since adopting Kristen, David and Dakota, Cate and Gary have fostered 17 other children.

"You go into stores and places like that and you see the children all over and you can tell that they're in a bad situation and you always feel bad about it and the ability to help them means a lot," Gary said.

The Ingalls open hearts and endless generosity got the attention of the federal government. They are one of three families nationwide honored with an Adoption Excellence Award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

"It was in recognition of our adoption and our fostering work and the work that we do here with the agency to help promote fostering [and] promote adoption in the country. 

Cate and Gary hope their story will help open more hearts. 

"Just look at some of the children; just look at them. That's got to make the decision for you and anybody can do it. They don't ask for much, they just want a family," Gary said. 

The goal of fostering children is always to re-unite them with their parents. That is why Cate and Gary have only adopted three. The other families that won the award were from Wyoming and Nevada. 


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