Why We Support Foster Care Children

Championing Foster Care Youth: The Heart of St. Pete’s Maids Cares Program

In honor of National Foster Care Awareness Month, the month of May, we wanted to shed some light on a topic very important to us and bring to your attention why St. Pete’s Maids and our founder, Alexis Craig, supports foster care youth and started the St. Pete’s Maids Cares Program.

Over the last half-decade, Alexis has fostered 11 children and adopted two of them. Her home is often full of children ranging from 3-years-old to newborns.

Her home has been humorously nicknamed Toddler Nation. For some of these children, when it was safe to do so, they were joyfully reunited with their biological parents — always the goal. For others, they went to live with a biological relative. And for others, their case ended in adoption.

Through the St. Pete’s Maids Cares Program, we have been able to donate over $6,000 to support children, right here in our community, who have been abused or neglected, mainly foster care youth.

There’s Still Work To Do…

While we celebrate these contributions and forward progress, there is still work to do. In Michigan alone, there are 8,000 children who enter the foster care system every year. There are approximately 400,000 children in foster care in the U.S., and of those, over 100,000 children waiting to be adopted from foster care.

These are children who are waiting and want a safe, permanent home.

To put this in perspective, the number of children in foster care could populate the Lansing Metropolitan area. That’s from Grand Ledge, to Okemos, to St. Johns, to Leslie. It’s larger than the population of some nations, like Iceland or the Bahamas.

If you’ve ever been to Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan — the stadium has the capacity to fit a little more than 41,000 people. The children waiting to be adopted would fill the stadium nearly three times, and it would fill the stadium 10 times for children in the foster care system.

Foster care youth is 5 to 10 times more likely to enter the juvenile justice system. 65 percent of foster youth are likely to experience seven school changes. During their time in foster care, the average child will experience 3.1 placements from one foster home to a residential facility and back again.

Together, we can create a brighter future for these children. Together, we can help foster care youth find a safe, permanent home, succeed in school, and reduce the chance that they end up in the foster care system again.

Addressing The Stigma

The issue of foster care is not well understood in our society. Few people are aware of the issues that exist today. Every 19 minutes, a child is abused or neglected. Every year, there are nearly 3.3 million cases of violence against children. Of those, over 250,000 children are placed in the foster care system.

Imagine for a moment what it might be like for foster care youth. While most children are running around their neighborhood with their friends or doing homework, foster care youth is being shuttled back and forth — from therapy visits, to court, to parenting visits, and doctor’s appointments.

Think of your home. Imagine if you had to leave your home — not really understanding why. For the next few years, you would bounce around from house to house, never knowing where you might go next. Most children have all of their belongings gathered into a small backpack or garbage bag.

Most disturbing about all of this is the public’s attitude towards children in foster care. It’s often unkind and unfair. There is a stigma that foster children are “troubled kids”. There is a belief that they can be violent and have emotional problems.

However, all of them want stability. All of them want to be part of a safe, permanent home.

I often think about how my life would be if I was forced to navigate childhood without a family for support and comfort. It’s no wonder the future is often painted as bleak for foster care youth.

We can’t help but look back on why helping these children is so important to the St. Pete’s Maids Family. And since our founding in 2016, we’ve remained committed to Alexis’s mission for foster care youth.

CASA of Eaton, Barry, and Ingham County

Yes, we simply offer maid services, and by doing that, we help fulfill our mission to speak up for the children who need us most.

We support CASA of Eaton, Barry, and Ingham County as our charity of choice and we are continually looking for new ways to raise funds and bring awareness for the cause. Some of the ways we do this are by donating a share of our revenue to CASA.

Fundraising is critically important, but ultimately, money alone cannot help these children. For that, people must be willing to volunteer, and in some cases open up their homes to a child who desperately wants a safe, permanent home.

CASA has a proven, best-interest advocacy model that works.

“CASA/GAL volunteers are appointed by judges to advocate for children’s best interests. They stay with each case until it is closed and the child is in a safe, permanent home. Our best-interest advocacy is driven by the guiding principle that children grow and develop best with their family of origin, if that can be safely achieved. Most of the children we work with are in foster care, but some are with their family of origin. And, most children who leave foster care do so to return to their family.”

Nationally, CASA serves 271,800 children. Yes, this is a number we can celebrate, but there is still so much to do, and we hope you will visit CASA to learn more.

We hope to speak more often about this topic, because it’s near and dear to our hearts and home. We believe these children deserve a brighter future.

Talk to you soon!