April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, reminding us all of the importance of working together to ensure the health and safety of the most vulnerable among us. The truth is that, as a community, we can prevent child abuse and neglect.
At first, Silas Pederson believed the task too big. The idea that he and Micah, fresh from college and newly married, could capably care for a blind and deaf child facing a mountain of medical issues seemed ludicrous. The prospect of disruption and trials frightened and overwhelmed him. So, he did what he typically does when the path is uncertain - he prayed.
Every day, more than 700,000 U.S. social workers provide essential services to the most vulnerable among us. Working within a wide range of settings, social workers help those without the skills, access, and resources to keep their children safe and their families secure.
Dozens of Kansas children received their forever families last week as their adoptions were finalized at National Adoption Day celebrations hosted by Saint Francis Ministries. Of the nearly 400,000 children in foster care nationwide, more than 115,000 are awaiting adoption. Traditionally scheduled on the Saturday before Thanksgiving Day, National Adoption Day helps raise awareness about the need for adoptive parents and honors those who make the decision to welcome a child into their family.
Landon was the only child to walk through the Beltz door with a suitcase in his hand. He arrived at their Wichita home with his little red suitcase, packed and ready to leave again at a moment’s notice. That had, after all, been the pattern up to now. “He was very shy and reserved,” said Melanie Beltz. “He didn’t say much at first, but he was polite and helpful. I remember that he had a slip of paper with his grandmother’s phone number on it. He kept in his shoe, and that just about broke my heart.”
Lydia Lund prayed for eight years that her husband, Tyler, would share in her desire for them to become foster parents. Thanks to a career in social work, she knew firsthand the effect a good foster parent can have on the life of a child. Although not completely opposed to the idea, Tyler just wasn’t sure if it was a good option for them. He and Lydia had recently started their own family and already had two little girls, ages five and two. Then one day, following a conversation with friends who are foster parents, something clicked with Tyler. Three weeks later the Salina couple were in a foster parent training course. “I knew that once he decided, we would go all in,” said Lydia.