Who? A concerned villager… My name is Leona. My husband and I have been foster parents for over 8 years and have cared for 22 children. We have been blessed to adopt or have legal guardianship of seven of these children and are currently fostering two.
Why? West Virginia is in the midst of a crisis that deeply affects the children of our beautiful state. In 2018, 700 children were placed into foster homes in Kanawha County alone. There are currently over 6,700 children in the custody of the State of West Virginia. Unfortunately, each year children are continuing to enter the foster care system at greater rates than ever before.
Why so many? Drug use in our state has grown to epidemic proportions. In a speech given in 2017, it was estimated by the WV Department of Health and Human Resources (WV DHHR) Secretary Bill Crouch that 80% of the children removed from their homes are removed as a result of parental drug use.
What? To help address this issue, a number of friends and I have formed a nonprofit organization, the Appalachian Children’s Refuge Foundation, Inc. Our mission is to prevent child abuse and neglect by developing, implementing, and supporting programs to meet the needs and concerns of the children and families of West Virginia.
Parenting is a challenging job which becomes increasingly difficult when a family is facing hardship. Every parent needs support from their village (i.e. family, friends, etc.); when they don’t have one it is up to us as a community to be theirs. As a trusted resource for families, we focus on prevention by offering free, voluntary services for parents who face barriers such as unemployment, medical or mental health concerns, homelessness, poverty, or anything that keeps someone from being the kind of parent or guardian they want to be.
To address these issues, our programs include:
– crisis emergency childcare
– “downtime” childcare
– working with youth transitioning from the foster care system to adulthood
– connecting families to information and community resources
– and much more.
We need your help!
We are currently seeking donations to meet our fundraising goal for 2019. The donations received will help us launch our organization to the public, maintain our marketing and office supplies, and begin the process of securing a location to help children and families in and so much more!
We must” be a village” for our fellow West Virginians. Even $5 can make a huge difference when combined with other caring villagers. Together we CAN make a difference.
Stronger Together, Building for our Future