Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition: Fostering forever families

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Josie Baker

Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition works to support foster children and parents.

Clothes, bottles, gifts, beds, blankets, school; children tend to have a lot of needs. A little extra support can go a long way no matter the situation. This is why the Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition was founded, to support parents and their foster child. 

Founded in 1989, the Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition (FACC) works to provide a forever home for foster children in need. FACC recruits foster parents and supports foster and adoptive families in the Saint Louis Area. Maddie Bobbitt, FACC Adoption Specialist, has been working for the FACC since 2017. 

“Adoption has always been a big part of my life,” Bobbitt said. My mom and all of her siblings were adopted. One of my cousins and a couple of [my] best friends [were also adopted].”

Bobbitt works with children who have been in the foster care program for extensive periods of time. Bobbitt said foster children experience many different homes and residential facilities that can have an effect on their mental health. 

“Being in foster care, regardless of how long the child is in foster care, is traumatic,” Bobbitt said.  “Being removed from your family, your home [and] everything that you know is very challenging.” 

According to Natasha Leonard, Director of External Relations for the FACC, 4,500 children in foster care are without a home or a family in the St. Louis area. Through the adoption of her daughter, Fonda Richards got involved with the FACC. She is now a retired volunteer. 

She was a teenager and she chose me, and I adopted her.”

— Fonda Richards

“[The FACC] introduced me to my daughter because she was interviewing three or four prospective placements. She got to decide who she wanted,” Richards said. “She was a teenager and she chose me, and I adopted her.” 

Richard’s has adopted six kids and has three of her own. Her knowledge and understanding of being a foster and adoptive parent has influenced her involvement in the FACC. 

“There’s genuine love and compassion within my family,” Richards said. “These kids are not blood, but they have love for each other. They look and call each other brothers [and] sisters.”

The FACC hosts many fundraisers each year to provide birthday and Christmas gifts to foster children. One of their holiday fundraisers, Little Wishes, gives gifts to children in foster care. It is one of their biggest events of the year, receiving around 3,700 donations each year. FACC provides foster children something to look forward to during the holiday time. 

“Some of them didn’t know what Thanksgiving and Christmas were like,” Richards said. “My one son was 14 when he first trick-or-treated. I’ll never forget that experience. I was watching him and thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, he’s really into this, because he’s never had that experience.” 

The experience of holidays, birthdays and special events can be limited for children in the foster care system. Through donations and involvement in the FACC, the St. Louis community can help grant more of these experiences to children in foster care. 

There’s a great need for fostering and adopting. I’m not gonna say it’s easy, but it is rewarding and empowering.”

— Fonda Richards

“The more people [that] are aware of [FACC], the more people will want to volunteer, donate or become [interested] in being foster and adoptive parents,” Richards said. “There’s a great need for fostering and adopting. I’m not gonna say it’s easy, but it is rewarding and empowering.”

 The community’s help goes beyond the FACC. They help the staff provide resources for parents and foster children so all foster children can be given the opportunity of a consistent life. They do this through the Coalition Care Line where people can call in and get support such as paying utility bills and getting groceries. 

“We realized that we needed to first meet our families and children’s basic needs,” Leonard said.  “[FACC] had to shift to meet [children’s] needs before we could continue reporting and [foster] recruitment.”