BOSTON (CBS) – Each month, WBZ Cares highlights a worthy non-profit organization and tells the story of what that organization does for the community.
This month’s organization is “The Home for Little Wanderers,” the nation’s oldest child welfare agency providing services to support and encourage youth to become successful adults.
Providing foster care for children is among the major challenges the organization faces.
“The kids that come into our foster homes need more intensive treatment,” said Lesli Suggs, Vice President of Operations, “so these are kiddos that we are trying to keep out of residential or group homes. We want kids to live in the community and family settings. We want them to go to regular schools if they can.” she said.
The need for foster care is growing, Sugg said.
According to the Massachusetts Children and Familes (DCF), there are currently 9,300 children in the foster system across the state.
Since June of 2012, the number of children in placement grew by 20-percent.
“The opioid crisis is driving up those numbers,” said Suggs. “More kids are placed out of their homes younger and younger. And so the system is at full capacity, and the more foster homes we have the more opportunity we have to keep kids actually in the community which is where we want them to be.” And of course, the foster parents themselves play a big role in caring for kids.
And of course, the foster parents themselves play a big role in caring for kids. “I will say that the foster parents that we have are amazing are absolutely tremendous and have been really thoughtful about becoming a foster parent, it typically comes from the heart. It’s mission driven for them,” she said.
“I will say that the foster parents that we have are amazing are absolutely tremendous and have been really thoughtful about becoming a foster parent, it typically comes from the heart. It’s mission driven for them,” she said.
Gerri Smith-Grey has been a foster parent for several years.
“We have heard it takes a village to raise a child, for children in foster care system we are all a part of that village,” Smith-Grey said. “In my world as a foster mom, I know I wouldn’t be able to do this work without the support of the home staff. To the children in our community, we all need to be a part of bringing them up.”