Fos­ter Ge­nies

Cape mom help­ing our most vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren

Cape Coral Living - - Cape Departmens - — C.G.

Com­pared to sur­round­ing coun­ties, the num­ber of fos­ter kids in Lee County is stag­ger­ing. Some 1,309 Lee County kids in Novem­ber were in fos­ter care, far more than Col­lier and Char­lotte coun­ties. Jen­nifer Fis­cher had ob­served abused kids, which is how many ar­rive into fos­ter care. Neigh­bor chil­dren looked ill-treated, the Cape mom says, bruised and thin. State so­cial work­ers later re­moved them. It was her in­tro­duc­tion to the sys­tem run by the Florida De­part­ment of Chil­dren and Fam­i­lies, the re­moved chil­dren re­quest­ing Fis­cher as a cus­to­dial par­ent, she says, which the state granted. She has since started Fos­ter Ge­nies, a non­profit so­lic­it­ing fos­ter par­ents. The pro­gram also grants wishes such as trips to Dis­ney World, for in­stance. She just added the Lit­tle Ge­nie pro­gram that matches sta­ble chil­dren to fos­ter as­sis­tance, says Fis­cher, a mom with three kids and half a dozen fos­ter chil­dren, a modern Brady Bunch. “My goal is to ed­u­cate [peo­ple] about the state of emer­gency we’re in,” she says. “I have lis­tened to sto­ries [of abused kids] and gone to my room to cry. I want to give the sup­port they need.” De­tails are at fos­ter­ge­nies.org.

Lee County's fos­ter sys­tem is in cri­sis and needs qual­i­fy­ing adults to step for­ward.

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