FOWLERVILLE, Mich. (WLNS) – There are 13,000 children in the foster care system in Michigan and while that sounds like a lot, officials say that number has actually significantly dropped in the past few years.
But no matter how many kids there are living in foster homes, a local non-profit is doing what it can to make the process easier for children.
That non-profit is called “Foster Closet of Michigan.”
There are actually several branches throughout the state but the Livingston County branch that also serves Ingham County which is located in Fowlerville is the newest location.
The mission is simple. To give children and their foster families the essentials needed to get by.
“We are bridging the gap between the state and the foster parent,” said Danielle DeVries; Director of the Livingston County “Foster Closet of Michigan.”
DeVries says when children are in a foster family, the state gives the family a monthly stipend to provide for their child but the process moves slow and it can be a couple months before a family receives a payment. That’s where “Foster Closet of Michigan” comes in.
“That stipend doesn’t come when the child comes so they come here. We give them a new pair of socks, a new pair of underwear, clothing, anything that child might need right away,” DeVries stated.
For Megan Dean who has two foster children of her own, she says this organization has helped ease some of the financial strain.
“Our youngest came to us and he was 2 days old, we picked him up from the hospital and he literally came to us with a onesie in February, that’s it. And with me having older children I had no infant stuff so we went to the Foster Closet that night and they stocked us up on everything we needed…clothes, diapers, wipes, formula, a crib, car seats,” said Dean.
Even though the state does provide financial help for foster families, Bob Wheaton, the spokesman for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says the extra support from the community goes a long way.
“It helps the foster family feel supported to have the foster children feel supported and hopefully that will result in a better outcome for the foster children and it helps us retain foster parents if they have support in the community from groups like this,” said Wheaton.
It’s important to mention that the Livingston County branch is not open yet, but plans to open next month in a temporary location in Fowlerville.
The non-profit has started taking donations though. If you’d like to donate, we’ve posted a link under the “Seen on 6” section of our website with directions on how to do so.