KANSAS: Baby Tyler* had a mother who was a substance abuser and a father who was out of the picture, and he entered the foster care system with no one to care for him. Tyler also had a medical condition requiring a doctor’s supervision, requiring him to live close to a pediatrician familiar with his situation.
After Tyler entered foster care, his family-finding team used the Connect Our Kids technology platform to search for family and community connections. Tyler’s team was able to build out a network of 96 contacts and quickly identified 14 siblings, and began reaching out to find a match.
Tyler was placed with two biological aunts committed to his well-being and who will share in his care; these aunts also provide a critical link to Tyler’s parents and other family members.
The non-profit organization in Kansas that helped Tyler has now hired six full-time staff dedicated to family finding. Every child referred by child welfare professionals in the county receives a deep search before placement in a foster home. These family finders are proud to boast a near 50 percent placement with relative caregivers but also point out that further reforms are needed to better support families before a child is placed in foster care.
Funds should be used to support families in poverty by providing access to food and shelter rather than placing their children with people outside their family and community. These dedicated professionals are now beginning to expand their diligent search efforts to children who have been in the foster care system for years.
Connect Our Kids is a non-profit dedicated to leveraging technology to find families, build connections, and create a community for children in the foster care system. Want to help more children like Tyler? You can today by donating HERE.
*Name has been changed to protect privacy.