Do you know how many times on average a foster child must move homes during their time in foster care? Are you ready for the answer? The average number of times that a child in foster care moves homes is seven. Many people don’t move even a couple times in their lives, and these children move many times before adulthood. “Why?” is likely the first question that came to mind, but the answer is overwhelmingly simple. Many foster families are not supported enough or well-equipped to care for these children, therefore they are moved often. The emphasis is on the family and inability to care for the child, not the behavior of the child.
“It would be scary enough to be removed from your home away from your family, imagine moving seven times: seven new homes, seven new schools, seven new sets of friends,” said Campus Director Tara Ford. “Many children who are in the foster care system suffer from low self-esteem, low self-worth, and some even suffer from post traumatic stress disorder, and they are all just scared.” Most children when removed from their home, are taken with the clothing on their back, and any personal item they have if any is thrown into a garbage bag. “By placing their belongings in a garbage bag children develop feeling of poor self worth, they begin to fill as if they are dispensable, and often feel like they are indeed trash.”
The Ross Medical Education Center Evansville, Indiana campus has both students and staff that have experienced living in foster care or serving as foster parents. Because of their experiences, they have seen the results first hand and wanted to do something to make a difference for the local foster children. “We wanted to give each child something of their own, a bag to take place to place for their belongings,” said Campus Director Tara Ford. So the campus collected duffle bags and filled each bag with a blanket to snuggle with, a stuffed animal to hug when they are afraid, a coloring book, coloring crayons, story books, a toothbrush, and toothpaste. They hope the duffle bag program will help foster children regain self worth by taking away the garbage bag. The duffle bags will be donated to the Department of Child Services (DCS) in Vanderburgh County. This is an initiative that the campus hopes to continue throughout the year as this is a never ending need with over 800 children currently in the local foster system.