Family: A Child’s Most Basic Need

“Every kid needs a family. This, we know. We know it when we look at our own children and think about our dreams for them. We know it in our hearts, in our bones and from our own stories. Whether “family” means a mother and father, a single parent, a beloved aunt or uncle, a grandparent or a caring foster or adoptive family, this bond gives meaning to our successes, cushions our hardships and allows us to be most ourselves. A family loves us at our worst and summons our best when nothing else will. A family provides a compass from birth to death. It is the definition of home.”

 – The Anne E. Casey Foundation, Every Kid Needs A Family

Crises like COVID-19 help put into perspective what we need the most for our well-being. This pandemic shook up our world, disrupting our daily routines, threatening our sense of security, and wiping out our best-laid plans. In a matter of a few days, all our attention shifted to #StayHomeSaveLives, unveiling an unavoidable, deeper appreciation for the importance of having a safe home – a place where we can shelter, physically and emotionally, during this hardship.

The pandemic also put the spotlight on the value of having a supportive community, to seek comfort in and fall back on during tough days. We have seen this through the generosity of neighbors who help each other, the creativity of our teachers and school staff, and of foster, adoptive, and guardianship parents, who are the front-line of our foster care community during this crisis.

This difficult time has taught us that a safe home is only possible when we are surrounded by a supportive and loving family. The comfort, connection, and care that a family provides has been critical to our well-being through this time.

This crisis is uncharted territory. Fear, discomfort, and anxiety are more common than ever. Sadly, for children impacted by foster care, these feelings are not the exception, but the rule. It is essential, then, to connect children to their most basic need: family; a place where they can feel safe, loved, and connected, a home where they can be themselves and find the space to heal from trauma.

But thanks to the investment of countless volunteers, donors, advocates, and, of course, foster, adoptive, and guardianship parents, we are more prepared for this crisis than any in our history. For 30 years, our groundbreaking programs have found and supported families for the most vulnerable kids in foster care. Here are just a few of the stories your support over the years has made possible:

A Five-year-old boy was hospitalized after a terrible beating by his father. Lost to addiction, his mother was unable to care for him. 30 Days to Family found that his maternal grandma was eager to have her grandson live with her. As a refugee from the Rwandan genocide, however, she didn’t have a good grasp of English. Family court said that because grandma couldn’t understand the curriculum of the English-only foster care licensure process, she couldn’t take her grandson. The Coalition raised money to hire a translator and taught grandma one-on-one. 30 Days Specialists also found an aunt in the state of Washington who eventually took guardianship of her nephew, later moving him and his grandmother out to her home.

Seven siblings entered foster care when they were found living in deplorable conditions with no food in the home. The caseworker only knew of a few relatives in the area, so the siblings were split up between four separate homes in different communities. 30 Days Specialists quickly found 238 relatives, including the paternal grandfather, who agreed to take all 7 kids. The Coalition procured cribs, toddler beds, twin beds, car seats, bedding, clothing, shoes, and hygiene items for the children. All 7 were placed within eight days of coming into foster care. One year later, the children remain with their grandpa and his wife, whose family has mobilized to support them in countless ways.

For those of you who are able, the Coalition is asking all our supporters to help us meet our goal of raising $120,000 on Give STL Day (Thursday, May 7th) so no child has to grow up in the uncertainty of foster care. Every year, your generous has put us in the top three charities on this city-wide day of giving. This year, our community needs you more than ever, you can help our kids and families reach the top.

Thank you for supporting the Coalition. Thank you for being a part of our family.

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