One of the many organizations and businesses that have taken a hit from this pandemic is the foster care system.
Foster care is one of the systems that has had to push through the situation with a number of challenges.
“Kids in custody didn’t stop just because the world kind of came to a standstill,” Resource Family Worker Meghan Greenly said. “We’re still in great need of foster parents in Kansas and the Atchison area.”
Thousands of kids across the country including Kansas are stuck in limbo unable to have physical contact with their biological parents.
“Those that are seeing their parents aren’t actually able to see them and physically be with them,” foster parent Sheial Fagan said. “They get to Facetime but that isn’t same type of personal way.”
Greenly said video visits help but they don’t provide the type of personal experience many kinds need at this time.
“Video visits are great and I’m thankful we have them,” Greenly said. “But there is something about being there in person that makes a huge difference.”
As of Jan. 20 there were 7,443 children in foster care in Kansas.
“I don’t want to see any kid sitting in an office somewhere because they don’t have a place to sleep,” Greenly said “People need to understand that these kids are no different than anybody else’s kids. Most of them are put in this situation not by something they have done.”
The long time foster parent said her ultimate goal is to get rid of the many stereotypes or misconceptions that come with the foster care system and process.
“My goal is to make foster care not perceived as a bad thing,” Fagan said. “The biological mom of one the boys I adopted will tell you that foster care saved her life. It helped her get clean and her family get clean.”
Keeping kids near their original area is a goal foster care strives towards.
“If we can keep them in their same teacher, school or communicate with the same friends then it will make the transition a lot easier,” Fagan said. “It’s important to keep those kids in familiar surrounding as much as we can.”
Sixty-five children foster care are currently from in Atchison County, with another 355 from surrounding/contiguous counties like Doniphan with 35, Brown with 74, Jackson with 37, Jefferson with 26, and Leavenworth with 183.
“It’s been a huge need,” Greenly said. “We really need more in the Atchison area.”
If anyone would like additional information on becoming a foster parent, they can contact Greenly at (913) 284-2784.