Last week my wife and I went to Washington D.C. to accept the Angels in Adoption honor from Senator Pat Roberts, and attend the annual Angels Gala. It was inspiring to hear stories from people all over the country who are equally committed to helping foster parents meet the needs of the most neglected members of our communities. It was also reinvigorating to hear that many are putting together coalitions in their communities very similar to what Dr. Rebecca Reddy and other foster advocates in Wichita are working on forming here, a process I’m happy to be a part of.
I’ve said this numerous times at churches and civic organizations throughout Wichita and Sedgwick County. Government won’t cure this problem any time soon. If we want quick change and to meet these kids’ needs now, we need more foster parents, greater community support for fosters and the kids, more CASA volunteers, and more mentors. That falls squarely on the shoulders of Sedgwick County citizens not lawmakers in Topeka. Sure, we do need more support from Topeka, but who knows when that formula will be cracked. Now and in the foreseeable future, we can help foster kids by making them part of our lives.
I received updated data yesterday. We have 1,269 kids in out of home placements in Sedgwick County and 409 must be shipped out of county. The out-of-county number is a little better (about 100 better), but it’s still pitifully short. We need so many foster families that they not the children have to wait for placement. Can’t ideally match them if we keep treading water, and ideally matching is the key to reducing disruptions.
Email me if you’d like me to present the foster care crisis to your church or civic organizations. firstname.lastname@example.org.