Foster care month kicks off - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Foster care month kicks off

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(05/09/13) - Here is an alarming state statistic - nearly 14,000 Michigan children are in foster care at any given time.

We met two women who know the system well - and are succeeding.

Both have ties to Flint's Ennis Center for Children, which kicked off its blue ribbon campaign Thursday to draw attention to the urgent needs of youth in foster care.

"It doesn't take much. All these children really need is love," says Rebel Molina. "They need someone to fight for them, to advocate for them. You just have to have love and be willing to give that."

Molina has that love and has given it. In the four years she's been a foster parent, Molina says she's fostered six children, adopted one of them and is in the process of adopting two more.

"My story began as a ward of the state of Michigan from the time I was born," says Le'Vaughn Johnson.

Johnson says her great aunt took her in, as a foster child, when she was four and a half. Her great aunt adopted her at age 6.

Just last Friday, Johnson graduated with a Masters in Social Work from Michigan State University.

"My mother was standing in the aisle to greet me after I was hooded, and she whispered...," Johnson says, pausing to compose herself, "...she whispered that she was so very proud of me."
Johnson is now pursuing a career as a clinical therapist, working with children and parents in the child welfare system. She's interviewing with the Ennis Center for Children in Flint - the group she's worked through all these years.

Haven't heard of the Ennis Center?

Founder and CEO Robert Ennis says he's purposely kept what he does quiet, but says he can't anymore. The need to place children in quality foster care homes is just too great.

"If you can't be a foster parent, you can be a mentor, a volunteer, you can be many things, but we desperately need foster parents for teens and sibling groups," Ennis says.

May is recognized as National Foster Care Month.  Genesee County Commissioners declared it here, in Genesee County, Thursday.

The Ennis Center says it helps over 300 children, on any given day, in its foster care parent alone.  Michigan's Department of Human Services says Genesee County currently has 761 children in foster care - 379 females and 382 males.

If you are interested in becoming a foster parent, click HERE for more information.


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