Thursday, May 16, 2013
Help a local child
This Third-Thursday seems to be dedicated to a fictional superhero. And while it's all fun, I want to stress a real-life situation going on in our town of 40,000-plus.
There are 179 children in foster care in Reno County. That's a lot of kids not living with their biological parents - kids with troubled pasts, kids who need someone to look up to - a strong guidance from solid, caring adults.
There are 34 licensed foster care homes in Reno County. But that is not nearly enough.
Of those 179 children - 73 are placed outside of the county due to lack of licensed foster care homes in Reno County. Another 42 homes, at least, are needed. And sadly, the need continues to grow in our county.
It is National Foster Care Month - and sometimes, I think, it's easy to "dehumanize" the situation that surrounds us in our fair city. But these are children - real children with dreams - children who need a push in the right direction to help them realize those dreams.
Also some people think foster parents are in it for the money. I won't say those situations don't happen, but the funds received is barely enough to cover a child's needs.
The word "foster" means to help someone, or something, grow and develop. It also means to take care of someone's needs. Foster parents, then, are people who provide a safe place for kids to be cared for. And Reno County needs more good, quality people to take the reins.
Why is it important to keep these 73 children in Reno County? The goal is to keep as many children in their home county to keep something in their life constant when everything else in their life is mixed up. Moving can just add struggles and challenges to the issues they already face.
Keep the child in the same school and activities and sometimes the school is the most stable thing they have. They can stay close to their friends. And, when working with the family to get them back into their home also means less travel and is easier on the family and child.
My husband works in this field, trying to find foster parents for Saint Francis Community Services. He works across our central Kansas region. And Hutchinson, at present, is one of his biggest challenges - it is a one of the larger need counties in the western half of Kansas.
Tonight during Third Thursday, amid the hype of Superman, he'll be having an event at Grasshopper Park to raise awareness during National Foster Care Month. There will be a gallery of Kansas kids who are up for adoption. And, there will be an event taking place about 6:30 p.m.
Just to give you a hint, the community theater will be there telling us all that these children need "A Hero" in their lives.
For more information visit http://www.st-francis.org
Here's a list of children waiting for adoption