Recap: First Annual Foster Parent Recruitment Picnic

While we wait finalize details of the TWO Foster Parent Recruitment Picnics taking place in 2022, check out this recap of the 2021 event and its significance in helping children, youth and families heal. 

Ahead of last year’s First Annual Foster Parent Recruitment Picnic at Dan Ryan Woods Pavilion, Executive Director of Kaleidoscope, Kathy Grzelak, sat down with Kara Teeple (Lawrence Hall) and Fox32 Chicago to talk the need for Foster Parents across Chicago’s communities. While filmed a year ago, their words still ring true today and are the motivating factors behind hosting the event again in 2022. Watch the full interview here.

In September 2021, 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 worked 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 individuals in attendance at the event, it was clear that this was key to not only recruiting new foster parents across Chicagoland’s communities but to better educate about child and family wellbeing. With nearly 5,500 youth in care in Illinois, the need for Foster Parents is as crucial as ever. 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.