Staggering data from 2016 tells us that in the state of Tennessee alone, we see more than 8,000 children processed through the foster care system each year with less than 4,000 families willing to provide care. These children’s separation from family and/or consistent, stable home environments can be brief or tragically prolonged. Statistics even tell us that children who enter the system over the age of 8, have only a 20% chance of being fostered, which leaves them “aged out” after 10 years, after which many face homelessness.
We share these numbers not to guilt or exhort, but to give a much needed context for the issue of foster care. One that no longer plays out like musical scenes from Annie, but one locked in a stalemate between much needed progress and antiquated, red-tape protocol. One I knew virtually nothing about before working with NaSHEville and amazing organizations like Bloom Family Design, whose founder and owner, Melissa, shares more on the issue with us on today’s podcast. We are also joined by Jenny Reimold, a foster parent and advocate, mom to seven, and creative mind behind Whim & Willow Designs.
What we learned is this. The most paramount concern in the foster system is to reunite children with family. An honorable and logical game plan on paper, right? Unfortunately, it seems the theory far outshines the execution, with stories upon stories of families with safe, loving homes being denied the chance to care for a child who is subsequently put back into the inadequate care of a relative.
Our hopes are this.
First, that time and advocacy can eventually recalibrate this system to hold the legal best interest of the child above all other variables.
Second, that through this episode of the She’s in the City podcast and our #FosterKindness event this Thursday, March 7th, those of us not yet familiar with the system will embrace the ways in which we can support the organizations and remarkable families who steward their homes and their hearts to foster children, day in and day out.
Please join us this Thursday at AJ’s Goodtime Bar for She’s in the City’s inaugural fundraising event and support #FosterKindness. Tickets can be purchased HERE and include hors d’oeuvres, a dessert bar and signature cocktail, as well as a performance by Aubrie Sellers. All proceeds go to support the Printz family through Bloom Family Designs and Tennessee Baptist Children’s Home.
See more of Robert and Kalie Printz’s foster story below.
Robert and Kalie have 5 children in their home. Their oldest is 6 years old (biological son), 3 year old twins girls who were originally fostered and now are fully adopted, a 1 year old fostered boy, and a 1 month old biological son! Robert works for Dave Ramsey and is an unbelievably calm, patient, and supportive husband and father.
Kalie is simply incredible. She helps lead the Wrap Around ministry for adoptive and foster families. Within that role, she leads a Fostering Together support group. She also works for Tennessee Kids Belong, a chapter of America's Kids Belong, a non-profit working to find forever homes for orphans. Kalie also teaches PATH training classes for prospective foster families. She does all this with pure humility and credit to the Lord.
The Printz family recently moved to a new home in Franklin to accommodate their growing family and need help putting together the kids rooms. Most of the items they have now have been passed down from other generous families, and they hope to create a wonderful space for their girls with funds from this week’s #FosterKindess event.
Brian and Kalie were nominated to receive proceeds for the girls’ new rooms by another generous foster dad in the area.