Today, there are more than 400,000 American children in foster care in the United States, and around 13,000 in Michigan. These numbers also hit close to home, as Kent County has nearly 900 foster children in the foster care system.
West Michigan Partnership for Children is an organization in Kent County that is piloting an innovative foster care model through a contract with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) that is the first of its kind in the state.
They believe all children deserve safety, belonging, and the opportunity for a better future all year round. Their ultimate goal is to reduce the time children spend in foster care, while assuring their safety and well-being. WMPS works with five partner agencies: Samaritas, Catholic Charities of West Michigan, Wellspring Lutheran Services, Bethany Christian Services, D.A. Blodgett St. John’s
Ellie Galas, Care Coordinator for WMPC, stopped by FOX 17 Morning Mix to bring awareness to the need for foster families. There is always a need for foster families, but even more so during the summer time. Galas points out that their partner agencies along with them, have noticed a decrease of foster families during the summer because of people’s busy schedules with their own kids on summer break, taking family vacations, playing summer sports, etc.
Ellie brought along with her Susan McElheny. Susan and her family are a shining example of how foster care can truly impact a child's life. After having their own child in 2011, they realized they wanted a big family. They now have four children thanks to the opportunities through WMPC. Susan admits that her life is very busy, but very blessed.
There are actually volunteer and mentor opportunities for families who are interested in making a difference in the lives of foster children. Those details can be found at FosterKentKids.care
If you would like more information on opportunities through WMPC, visit www.wmpc.care