RACINE -- In 2017, Racine County saw a spike in the number of children placed in foster homes outside of the County.
To held reduce the number of children placed in other counties Racine Human Services Department launched the Bring Them Home Campaign in 2018.
“Its a marketing effort to be able to allow our community to understand how important it is to keep our children in our community,” said Hope Otto, Director of Racine County Human Services Department.
The campaign launched with two goals, to recruit and license new foster families and bring back local children who were placed in homes outside of Racine County.
“We knew that there were more people that wanted to open their hearts and homes to be able to keep our children in our community,” said Otto.
Since the campaign started the Racine Human Services Department decreased the number of children placed outside of the home by about 50% and have been able to increase the number of new foster homes by 12%.
As of May, they had 85 licenses Level 2 & 3 foster homes and 9 licensed Level 1 homes.
Otto said it’s important for the children to stay within the county so they can be close to their families.
“Every time we disrupt a child's life, there is potential trauma that could impact them in the future. So we try to keep again, families intact when possible, keeping as much in home safety support. Any time we take a more aggressive step, there is more trauma that could occur in their life and yield to worst outcomes in the future,” said Otto.
During 2018 two temporary foster homes also opened up within the county. These shelter helps keep siblings together and provide homes for children while the Human Services Department works out the court process and logistics.
The Peace of Mind Shelter houses juveniles ages 10-17 for 30-60 days. Dr. Arletta Tucker and her husband Myron started the shelter in November. Since their doors opened they have housed more than 25 children.
“Christ tells us to take care of the fatherless and this was an opportunity to take care of the kids and provide them with a home a nice home,” said Dr. Tucker.
When the children walk through their doors for the first time, to them, it’s important for the children to feel wanted and loved.
“Our goal is we want them to keep that and take that away that you are worth something
Dr. Tucker and her husband chose the 10-17 age group because they adopted their son, Malik from the foster care system when he was 11-years-old. He is now a Carthage College graduate and a Sergeant in the army. His parents couldn’t be more proud of the man their son turned out to be.
“We did pretty good with Malik, so let’s see if we can pour into someone else’s child’s life,” said Dr. Tucker.
At the Peace of Mild Shelter children are taught life skills, like laundry, cooking and making their bed. The kids learn responsibility and get a weekly allowance of $15 but Dr. Tucker and staff still make sure the children are allowed to be just kids. They play games and the boys seem to enjoy fishing.
Many of the children leave to be re-united with their families.
“I think the biggest thing we want them to take away is that they were loved and they were care for,” said Dr. Tucker.
The shelter is ready to open two more beds up for children in their basement but need an egress window. Anyone who would like to find out more information on how you can help the shelter contact Dr. Tucker firstname.lastname@example.org
Anyone can be a foster parent regardless of income or marital status.
To learn more about how to be a foster parent in Racine contact 262-638-6356 or email email@example.com