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Foster families running out of options amid baby formula shortage

Baby formula impacting foster care system
Posted at 5:27 AM, Jun 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-01 07:59:07-04

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Families across the metro continue to look for ways to feed their children as the baby formula shortage continues.

One Kansas City nonprofit says foster families are finding the situation extra difficult, since they don't have the same options as other parents to feed their babies.

FosterAdopt Connect is a nonprofit which works with foster families while helping them navigate the child welfare system. They typically give out more than 15 cans of formula to families a week, but due to the ongoing shortage, that's not the case anymore.

"I've been doing this for 22 years and literally have never seen anything like this before," Lori Ross, CEO at FosterAdopt Connect, explained.

Ross says her nonprofit typically gets formula through donations and from other nonprofits like Harvesters, but over the past couple of weeks, they've barely had any cans of formula available. Ross says when they do get their hands on cans of formula, they're gone almost immediately.

"There really is very little we can do, and some of the options that are available to families in the community are not necessarily available to us," Ross said. "We're providing care to other people's children so doing things like accessing breast milk bank, or those kinds of things, requires special permission. These kids are in the custody of the state. It isn't as simple."

FosterAdopt Connect is encouraging foster families to work closely with their pediatricians, but fears this shortage could hurt our most vulnerable children.

"Foster parents are asked to bring children into their home and so [they] get two calls in a day and one is a two-year-old and one is an infant that needs formula, they might be more inclined to take the two-year-old and say no on the infant because of concern whether they'll have the ability to feed that baby," Ross said.

Ross is encouraging anyone who has formula that's unused to come out and donate it to FosterAdopt Connect.