Everyone needs to help Kansas foster kids, especially you!

A couple weeks after my mission to observe Florida dependency courts, the momentum to improve the Kansas foster care system is not abating. I immediately implemented changes on my docket to improve the timeline for permanency for my kids, and DCF is responding. Last week we met with a couple DCF representatives and they shared with us their improved timeline for adoption finalizations. I’m greatly encouraged that DCF is following up our Florida discovery that Kansas can improve its outcomes with action!

But here’s the reality. Bureaucratic changes take time. Lots of time. I seriously doubt even the latest momentum will be noticeable on case outcomes until a good year or more down the line, and if we see a change in political party occupying the Kansas Governor’s mansion next week, the momentum might stop dead in its tracks. Thus, I’m compelled to get back to what I’ve been saying and seeing for my entire career on the bench. YOU ARE THE SOLUTION TO THE KANSAS FOSTER CARE CRISIS!

Group Of Young Children Running Towards Camera In ParkWe need good families fostering these kids. We need good people serving as CASA volunteers to advocate for these kids. We need more Youth Horizons mentors, and Youthrive mentors for kids who age out of the foster care system. We don’t need new DCF policies to improve foster care outcomes next week or even next month. We need more people like you.

Here’s my ask of you. You probably belong to a church or civic organization. I’ve been presenting foster care to community groups the past couple of years and they always respond with love and caring by volunteering and supporting great organizations that help kids daily. Why hasn’t your group called? Talk to your pastor or leader of your group. Tell them I’m ready, willing, and able to talk to your group.

Good news is that the community group support for kids is growing too. I’m already scheduled to either present or help pastors present foster care volunteer opportunities two weekends in January (the 5th and 12th), as well as a civic group on the 17th.

70% of all men and women incarcerated in our jails and prisons were in foster care as children. Had they had good people like you fostering or advocating for them as kids they might have turned into productive, authority-respecting citizens with powerful testimonies about how someone loved them so much that they gave their time as foster parents or advocated for them in court.

Please email me at ksmith@dc18.org if you would like me to talk to your pastor or leader of a civic group about how he or she can help get the word out.

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