Representatives of several organizations and agencies that work with children needing foster families are campaigning to reverse a trend of more kids being placed in homes away from familiar surroundings.
CASA of Scotts Bluff County Volunteer Coordinator Missi Iasillo says for example, 48 of the 102 children involved in abuse and neglect cases in the county had to be placed in with homes outside of the county.
Iasillo tells KNEB News when that happens, children lose a lot of what would help them get through those situations. “As for a CASA volunteer, we can’t really assign them to these kids that are too far away to travel and see and advocate for them, so right there they lose a CASA volunteer,” said Iasillo. “Also, if there’s not a foster family in the county, that means these children have to be moved away from their schools, and their friends, and their support systems.”
Not all children entering the foster system come from circumstances in which they’re having to deal with results from the legal system. And when it comes to fostering children, Terry Robinson, Foster Parent Recruiter and Trainer with St. Francis Ministries, says it can be very rewarding, especially when it come to teens.
“That is a huge need across the state. People tend to be afraid of teenagers, but as a trainer myself, and a former foster parent, teens are fun, they are,” says Robinson. “And they’re just children. They’re just children that want to belong.”
In addition to CASA of Scotts Bluff County and St. Francis Ministries, other organizations taking part in the campaign include the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, Guardian Light Family Services and the Nebraska Foster and Adoptive Parent Association. Iasillo says for those families or couples willing to open their homes to a foster child, they can contact any of those agencies or organizations. For those who want to help but may not be ready to become a foster parent, you can also volunteer to be an advocate through CASA, or become someone who gives foster parents an occasional respite from their foster duties.
Iasillo and Robinson were guests on KNEB-AM’s News Extra program Monday, Jan. 18, and you can hear them discuss how you can help here: