On Saturday, September 18th, the Chicagoland Foster Care Collaborative hosted the Foster Parent Recruitment Picnic at Dan Ryan Woods Pavilion. Kaleidoscope received funding from Impact Grants Chicago in 2019 to expand our Foster Parent recruitment efforts to meet the needs of the our community. Kaleidoscope and 6 other agencies have been working on this recruitment event for more than 2 years as plans were halted by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has greatly impacted Foster Parent recruitment across the state of Illinois. The event, made possible by support from Impact Grants Chicago, was an opportunity for the community to come and learn more about the need for Foster Parents and agencies across the Chicagoland area.
With more than 150 attendees, the Chicagoland Foster Care Collaborative featured a panel of current Foster Parents, community resources, a chance to meet the agencies, and youth activities with the Forest Preserves of Cook County. The Collaborative was thrilled with the turnout for this first time event, and hope that each agency was able to recruit some new Foster Parents. According to Illinois DCFS, there are currently more than 5,500 youth in foster care across the Chicagoland area, with many having to stay in residential and hospital settings because of the lack of available foster homes in our communities. These rising statistics of youth not in home-based settings is one of the reasons that Kaleidoscope set out to join forces for the Foster Parent Recruitment Picnic.
We are in need of Foster Parents who are willing and ready to engage with a child’s family and community to support their healing. Often time’s children in care will be moved to different communities, zip codes, and event different parts of the state if a foster home cannot be found closer. This has been shown to increase trauma and have a negative impact on the child’s healing and mental health. It’s our hopes that by recruiting more Foster Parents on the South and West sides of Chicago that we can limit the trauma that our children and families go through by making it easy for a child to stay engaged with their family and community until they are able to return home.
For those that missed the Foster Parent Recruitment Picnic or who are ready to learn more about fostering with Kaleidoscope, you can setup an individual orientation with one of our licensing specialists here.