FOX VALLEY AREA REGIONAL NEWS: Calumet County, Fond du Lac County, Outagamie County, Winnebago County

Wisconsin foster care numbers down during pandemic but help still needed

Local News

KAUKAUNA, Wis. (WFRV) – The number of kids in foster care was at an all-time high before the pandemic and COVID-19 has had a surprising impact on foster care in our state.

Foster care is a subject that literally hits home for Shana Beach and why she started Lincoln’s Foster Closet. “My brother and my sister and I were in foster care and it was really hard. That really impacted me to start Lincoln’s Foster Closet and I saw the need in the community. I really wanted it to be something that comes from the heart.”

The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF) says the pandemic has seemed to strengthen the family unit in Wisconsin. They report there are roughly 1200 less kids in foster care this year than in years past.

Wendy Henderson, Administrator for Safety and Placement for DCF says, “In 2019, we had about 4800 removals of children into foster care statewide and so far this year we have about 3600.”

Although placement numbers have gone down, the needs of foster kids continue to climb.

Henderson says, “We are seeing families with a very high level of social service needs in general.”

Moly Stolp, who serves on the Board of Directors with Lakeshore Foster Families and Friends says, “These kids are vulnerable. They are pulled out of their homes in sometimes horrible situations.”

Beach says, “Just because the numbers went down doesn’t mean that a family who gets a child that is to say eight months old, when they had nothing but teens, doesn’t need our help.”

Non-profits like Lincoln’s Foster closet take gently used donations and turn them into a warm welcome that will help foster kids transition into their new homes.

Stolp says, “They are sent to live with people that are complete strangers and these children need help.”

Beach says, “We know that children who are in the foster care system really do need this
Extra support.”

The Department of Children and Families tell Local Five that changes to placement because of COVID-19 are made on a local case-by-case basis.

For more information about donation to Lincoln’s Foster closet email: lincolnsfostercloset@gmail.com

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