National Children’s Charity Opens Doors to D.C. Children for Whom Many Doors Have Closed; New Foster Care & Family Services Center to Give New Hope & Second Chance to More of the 1,100 Kids in America’s Capital Waiting for Foster Homes
WASHINGTON, June 29 -- In an effort to fill a burgeoning need by helping more of the 1,100 local kids now in need of foster homes in and around the nation’s capital, the 123-year-old national children’s charity KidsPeace is opening a Foster Care and Family Services center in Washington, D.C. To acquaint the local community with its mission and opportunities to get involved, KidsPeace will hold an Open House today, Wednesday, June 29 between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. for prospective foster families, supporters, and members of the press.
Across the nation, the need for foster homes is rapidly increasing as more and more children are removed from their homes because of abuse, neglect, or other family crises or problems every year, and need temporary or permanent alternatives. More than 600,000 children nationwide currently need foster homes, but only 135,000 foster families exist to provide a sanctuary for these children. Washington, D.C. alone has over 1,100 children in need of a loving foster home that can spell the difference between tragedy and triumph.
“Because KidsPeace is mission-driven, we go where the need is,” said Diane Sancilio, district manager, KidsPeace D.C. and Maryland Foster Care and Family Services. “The opening of this center is in response to a staggering demand in the nation’s capital for foster homes and we have high hopes for the center. Most of us would like to think that children by definition live happy, safe, carefree lives, but the reality is many children right here in our midst suffer the perils of abuse, neglect, poverty, and the misfortune to witness unspeakable things. As adults, we have an inherent responsibility to help and cannot turn a blind eye to so many kids in need. KidsPeace has come to D.C. to do our part in keeping children safe from harm and helping give them a chance at a brighter future.”
The new KidsPeace center in D.C. will help place children who have been removed from their homes into caring, supportive foster or adoptive arrangements where they can be safe, start to heal from their emotional scars, and experience the home and family they may never have had before. The center will benefit from the resources and expertise KidsPeace has accumulated over its 123-year history, including the knowledge and contributions of some of America’s finest minds in child development, unique online resources, public education outreach on a wide range of child-related issues, and VIP support.
KidsPeace foster care programs are different from traditional programs in that specialized therapeutic programs provide more than just a loving home – they also provide intensive therapeutic counseling to help kids heal emotionally while in foster homes. In addition, thorough training and 24-7 support enable foster parents to better relate to emotionally scarred children and give them the compassion and encouragement they need to overcome severe emotional crises.
“An overburdened system and a shortage of foster parents is leaving more and more children deprived of the tender loving care that is essential to the life and well-being of every child,” said Steve Howe, national director, KidsPeace Foster Care and Family Services. “In an attempt to remedy this and relieve some of the burden, KidsPeace has been serving children from the District for over 10 years by means of our residential programs and our Maryland foster care center. Our new D.C. office will put us one step closer to helping more kids. Keeping our children safe, encouraged, and appreciated is a basic responsibility that every single one of us has, and we as a community cannot afford to let our children down.”
KidsPeace in D.C. already has 18 children admitted into the program and 15 families approved to provide foster homes. However, many more children are on a waiting list and many more foster parents will be needed to help give kids peace. The center, which is located in Ward 5, is recruiting prospective foster families in the entire D.C. metro area (within a 25-mile radius), particularly in Wards 5, 6, 7, and 8. The center is one of 39 KidsPeace foster care offices across the country that help place thousands of kids in foster care and adoptive homes, giving them a chance to leave traumatic pasts behind and start fresh with a bright future ahead.
The Open House is intended to acquaint the district with the work and legacy of KidsPeace and underscore the need for community involvement to help improve conditions for many children who have not been blessed with much good fortune. Approximately 80 people from the community have been invited to attend, including families and children served by KidsPeace in the past, local social workers, judges, attorneys, community professionals, Congressional representatives, and Child and Family Services Agency staffers.
Washington, D.C. KidsPeace Foster Care and Family Services Center, 723 2nd St. NE, Washington, DC 20002, Phone: 202-544-9015; Fax: 202-544-9018
KidsPeace, which provides a variety of services to 3,000 kids daily at more than 50 centers across the nation, helps kids overcome the kinds of crisis that can strike any child. It has given hope, help, and healing to millions of children across the country and the world. KidsPeace was called “the outstanding organization” of its kind by the American Association of Psychiatric Services for Children and “a prototype of what we need for all children everywhere” by family expert Dr. Lee Salk.
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