D.A. Blodgett-St. John’s offers educational sessions and monthly stipends to encourage fostering
To encourage adults to consider fostering, D.A. Blodgett is offering a $245 monthly stipend for each bed made available to a child awaiting a more stable placement. In additional to the monthly stipend, the organization will offer $100 per day when a child is in a home.
Kent County is seeing a crisis-level need in fostering, specifically when it comes to temporary shelter for teens. The local child welfare nonprofit, D.A. Blodgett-St. Johns trying to encourage families to open their doors, by offering educational classes and financial stipends.
Kellie Oom, Child Welfare Director at D.A. Blodgett-St. Johns, said her team currently has 70 beds but 130 children in care. Despite an overall decrease in kids in foster care, noted by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Oom said the past few months, Kent County has seen an influx in emergency placement needs, primarily when it comes to teens.
"Sometimes we find ourselves having a child that we have no placement for and when we don’t have a placement that child ends up having to sleep in the agency, and we never ever want to have that happen,” she said.
To encourage adults to consider fostering, D.A. Blodgett is offering a $245 monthly stipend for each bed made available to a child awaiting a more stable placement. In additional to the monthly stipend, the organization will offer $100 per day when a child is in a home. Along with the payment will be personalized training and support from the organization.
“We are at a critical juncture in Grand Rapids for youth in need of stable foster home environments,” said D.A. Blodgett-St. John’s President and CEO Mary Muliett. “Simply put, we are in a crisis. We are in desperate need for foster homes, and we home the community will take the opportunity during Foster Awareness Month to explore this life-saving gesture.”
At this time, the organization is seeking volunteers to step up and provide placement for youth ages 12 and older for a few weeks while their next placement is being identified. Oom said the group is primarily looking for foster parents of color or LGTQ+ foster parents, but encourages all who are able to apply.
D.A. Blodgett-St. Johns is also promoting two workshops to help potential foster families learn more about fostering:
- “Stand for Teens” Sunday, May 22, 4-6pm , Wyoming High School.
- “The Realities of Foster Care” Wednesday, May 25, 12-1pm, online.
The events are free and open to the public. To register for an event, or to learn more about how to foster, individuals can visit www.fosterkentkids.care.