Cape mom helping our most vulnerable children
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.