KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kristy Blagg calls her left arm her "kid arm." It's covered in tattoos, with each one holding a different meaning.
“Some of my old foster kids like Chancy drew this semi. Little Ms. Payton drew this, that's her superhero; we called her Pecan,” Blagg said.
She also has a verse on her forearm.
“It says, train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it,” Blagg said. “All we can do as foster parents, a lot of times, is just train them up the best we can and then hope that they will hold onto those values.”
In 2012, Blagg became a foster parent.
“People said, ‘Are you crazy?’ And I thought, ‘Yeah, maybe we are,’ but we were able to do it,” Blagg said. “With the resources in place and all the support that the foster care agencies give us and our families and our community, we were able to help those kids and foster a lot and adopted our two babies.”
She adopted 4-year-old Mikah and 5-year-old Rosko in 2016.
“They're the reason for everything I do,” Blagg said.
She works with Cornerstones of Care, a trauma-informed behavioral health nonprofit.
Blagg began doing informational meetings to open up the dialogue of how people can help children in the most severe trauma.
“There is about 100 kids waiting for treatment for foster care homes in the metro area, and right now we only have 20 licensed homes,” Blagg said.
These are children who have a higher level of emotional or behavioral needs.
“A lot of them might have a mental health diagnosis,” Blagg said. “About 74 percent are diagnosed with PTSD. Many are diagnosed with ODD, ADHD, bipolar and about 11 percent with autism.”
She hopes with these meetings she can show how more people can become a loving family for a child who needs it.
“They're just regular kids who need love. They're in this situation due to no fault of their own,” Blagg said.
If you’re interested in learning more about treatment foster parents, there is an informational meeting Monday at 6 p.m. at the Cornerstones of Care at Hyde Park, located at 300 E 36th Street in Kansas City, Missouri.