POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. (KFVS) - Thousands of kids live in foster care across southeast Missouri, but what’s it like to walk a day in their shoes?
“To see each individual step in what a kid goes through, I think that is where change comes from, a better understanding." said Nate Newman.
FosterAdopt Connect educated approximately 40 state and local leaders during their Journey Home Bus Tour about the foster care system.
“Often times when they get removed from the home they’re given a trash bag and a very short amount of time to collect things, and when they leave their home, that’s all they have. Those little kids that carry those trash bags, they treasure things totally different," said Newman. “That is their life. And some of those kids like myself hang onto those bags throughout and hold those things very dear.”
They heard representatives from law enforcement, juvenile court, the children’s division and other organizations speak about their role in the foster care system.
“I think things like today invoke a new sense of passion that can bring about change,” said Newman.
He said a change is needed.
“It’s just as important as I am real,” he said.
“Our resources in the area are limited, and the more people that understand what’s going on and feel like they can make a difference, the more apt that we can get additional resources for the families,” said Mary Haldeman, FosterAdopt Connect’s program director.
According to Haldeman, 3,617 kids live in foster care in the southeast region of Missouri, as of October 31, 2019.
Newman remembers that time in his life far too well.
“They never leave. Even when we grow up and put fresh band aids on, the scars and wounds are still there," he said.
If you want to help a child in foster care, you can foster yourself, volunteer at organizations like FosterAdopt Connect, donate money or other items, or be a supportive person in a foster child’s life.