40 families in 20 years: State ward returns to help youth - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

40 families in 20 years: State ward returns to help youth

Victor Feraru (Source: Victor Feraru) Victor Feraru (Source: Victor Feraru)
(KFVS) -

A man now studying law at Southern Illinois University got there by defying the odds.

Raised while bouncing between more than 40 different foster homes in 20 years at the hands of the Department of Children and Family Services, Victor Feraru was last week appointed to return to the agency and prevent the same thing from happening to others.

Established in 1989, the 26-member task force he will join is a multi-disciplinary, legislatively mandated advisory group comprised of child advocates, law enforcement, medical and mental health professionals, attorneys, judges, child and parent advocates and child abuse survivors.

The group, which meets four times a year around the state, makes recommendations to DCFS on policy and practices “directed at improving investigative, prosecution and judicial handling of child abuse cases in a manner that limits additional trauma to the child victim.” 

“These little kids… they grow up,” Feraru said. “If they’ve been sexually, mentally, physically, spiritually abused, whatever… These kids are going to grow up and become members of society… I think we ignore a lot of what goes on because it’s not happening to us.”

Veronica Resa, DCFS deputy director of communications, said the agency is much different than it was in the 1980s and 1990s when Feraru was growing up.

During that time, there were about 50,000 children in the system.

Now there are about 16,000.

The agency emphasizes being proactive to get families assistance to keep them together, if possible, before children come into the system, she said. 

Feraru comes from an abusive family life, starting with his biological family from the time he was born.

His first interaction with the DCFS was before he turned two years old and he suffered physical, sexual and emotional abuse throughout much of his childhood.

Feraru’s struggle was close to ending late in his teen years when a couple sought adoption, but before too long the couple passed away.

“As a kid I wanted to die.” Feraru said. “It sounds horrible, but it was a very real alternative to what I was experiencing, so I really yearned for it for a while.”

The deaths prompted him to escape to a life on the streets before his story was told on Air America Radio in the early 2000s.

One listener was touched by his story and stepped up to adopt him, leading Feraru to college and law school by the age of 25.

 “When you survive abuse -- physical, mental and emotional -- and you come out to the other side you can offer a point of view that a person doesn’t get,” he said. “Normal life’s problems pale in comparison.

"Obviously, I will learn as I go. Primarily what I think sets me apart from a majority of what I would see on any task force is that I am a product of the system. The system didn’t help me out any; it was the altruism of human beings. I believe that is why they want me on the task force and I believe that is what I offer them.” 

Download the KFVS News app: iPhone | Android

Copyright 2016 KFVS. All rights reserved.

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • Surprising cause of death in teen boating accident creates 'Raven's Rule'

    Surprising cause of death in teen boating accident creates 'Raven's Rule'

    Wednesday, May 24 2017 3:34 PM EDT2017-05-24 19:34:33 GMT

    16-year-old Raven Little-White died in August, after a boating accident on Lake Waccamaw. The medical examiner’s report lists “drowning” as the probable cause of death, but a toxicology report that came back later revealed Raven had actually succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning.

    16-year-old Raven Little-White died in August, after a boating accident on Lake Waccamaw. The medical examiner’s report lists “drowning” as the probable cause of death, but a toxicology report that came back later revealed Raven had actually succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning.

  • Parents of Gage Meche suing man they blame for gun being brought to school

    Parents of Gage Meche suing man they blame for gun being brought to school

    Friday, May 26 2017 10:18 PM EDT2017-05-27 02:18:02 GMT
    Gage Meche (Source: Facebook)Gage Meche (Source: Facebook)

    Gage Meche has thousands of people rooting for him and a family spokesman says it means a lot.  But attorney Ron Richard says the child's parents want action against the man they believe is responsible, they're suing Michael Lane Dugas.. “They are on a roller coaster of emotions:  anger, sadness, fear, angst and wanting to feel like they're doing something about this matter. 

    Gage Meche has thousands of people rooting for him and a family spokesman says it means a lot.  But attorney Ron Richard says the child's parents want action against the man they believe is responsible, they're suing Michael Lane Dugas.. “They are on a roller coaster of emotions:  anger, sadness, fear, angst and wanting to feel like they're doing something about this matter. 

  • Video shows Midlands restaurant employee pulled by her hair

    Video shows Midlands restaurant employee pulled by her hair

    Friday, May 26 2017 5:41 PM EDT2017-05-26 21:41:50 GMT

    An employee of a popular restaurant at the Village at Sandhill is facing charges after authorities say he grabbed a server by her hair and pulled her to the ground. 

    An employee of a popular restaurant at the Village at Sandhill is facing charges after authorities say he grabbed a server by her hair and pulled her to the ground. 

Powered by Frankly