After four decades in one of the toughest professions going, Robert “Bob” Brunner insists it’s his colleagues and the kids who have kept him positive. “It’s been a privilege to be part of this system where you can help make a little one’s day a bit better, especially when they’re dealing with one of the worst days you can imagine – suffering from the trauma of being separated from their parents.”
When children are removed from their homes, it is usually through no fault of their own. They may be awakened in the middle of the night, wrapped in blankets, and driven to another house to spend the night with strangers. Most of their toys and clothes are often left behind. Whether a toddler or a teenager, they have little control over what happens to them. But one part of the court process is designed to give children a way to know that their perspective is heard as they enter into a complex system. This representative is the guardian ad litem, or GAL.
Thirty years ago, Betty Rush had a vision of how to build services that would help more children and families in Kansas. And 25 years ago, she made her vision a reality by establishing the first therapeutic foster care program at Saint Francis Ministries.
Riding in her warm car on her way to gymnastics class, Caroline Avery could only imagine what it must be like to live on the streets during last year’s brutally cold February in Wichita. So, rather than spend her birthday money shopping, the 8-year-old said she wanted to use it to help people. Her first thought was to donate to the homeless, which would itself have been a thoughtful gesture for a child her age. But when her mother asked if she wanted to help adults or children, she immediately replied, “Kids!” Children, it seems, possess a natural empathy for other kids that demands expression.
That Sunday … well, it was both strange and chaotic. For Anika Pfannenstiel, it began with church and ended with a runaway sister and a trip to the police station. By the afternoon, officers had removed Anika and two sisters from their home as the three entered the Kansas foster care system. Monday, they went to court, where the judge awarded temporary custody to their older brother. In a matter of hours, 12-year-old Anika’s life had turned upside down.
Check out the second edition of our Hi-Lites e-zine. Read about our 25 years of providing therapeutic foster care, guardians ad litem, our foster and kinship families of the year, a generous young donor, and a whole bunch more.
– Saint Francis Ministries in Texas is excited to announce our engagement in Stage II contract negotiations with the Office of Community-Based Care. In this, Saint Francis will begin the transition of work within Region 1 in partnership with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. We appreciate the opportunity and confidence in moving to Stage II of Community-Based Care and look forward to serving the children and families in Region 1 in a greater capacity.
Human beings will do pretty much anything for those they love, and little compares to the love of a grandparent for a grandchild. So, when Gena and Clifford Hailey realized Phoenix, 3, and Merlin, 2, needed help, they didn’t hesitate to step in. Their daughter had struggled with addiction and other mental health issues for years, resulting in the boys developing health problems of their own.
Licensed more than four years ago, the Tally family didn’t hesitate to wade into the deep end with their first long-term placement – a sibling set of four. Shortly afterwards, they added a fifth placement while the child waited for a kinship assessment. They’ve also fostered a teen, so she could remain in the community until she finished high school. They gave her a car and helped her apply for college and open a bank account. As far as Lance and Mandy are concerned, these actions are all just part of being an advocate for children in their care.