There are currently over 7,500 children in foster care in the State of Kansas. That number is rising. At the same time, the number of foster homes is decreasing due to burnout. Foster children often experience multiple moves between families, causing further trauma to their fragile lives. We can do better.
Joy Meadows is a neighborhood of foster homes. The foster homes are single-family homes built to house the maximum number of foster children permitted by state statute per home. Access to larger homes means that foster families who are good at what they do, will have the opportunity to live in a home where space allows for additional children to be placed with them, thus providing more children with a stable family environment. An emphasis is placed on putting sibling groups within the same home, or at least in close proximity to one another, at the time of entering into foster care.
The foster community will have a multi-purpose building that can be used for things such as therapy, tutoring, emotional and behavioral support, private lessons, extra-curricular activities – all within walking distance of the foster homes. Therapists and case workers can meet on location, thus cutting down on one more visit and drive for the foster children, foster parents, case workers and therapists trying to meet their needs. In addition, Joy Meadows can help minimize the many burdens to foster homes by giving respite care among the families within the neighborhood, childcare, and providing a place for centralized access to community resources. Children in the neighborhood see other kids and families that look like them. Foster parents have other neighbors and friends who can identify with the issues unique to fostering. The surrounding community then has a centralized location where they can offer support to the children and foster families by donating time, services, and supplies.