KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City nonprofit is launching a new program to help ease the transition for foster children when they first go to a new home.
The organization is called Care Package Inbound. The founders said they started it with the goal of making a generational impact on the foster care system.
"We're not properly taking care of our children," co-founder Jessica Silvey said. "We don't have enough people going in and loving on them. So we need to create the programs to create the help."
The group has plans to launch several programs in the coming years, but the first one starts Friday.
It involves donating backpacks full of items that a child might need on their first night at a foster home.
Each bag is geared toward a specific age group.
The first items the child will find are comfort items. For a younger child, that includes a stuffed animal, coloring books and crayons. An older child will receive a journal and a word puzzle or an adult coloring book. Each bag also includes a comfort blanket.
The next items in the backpacks are clothes: a clean pair of pajamas for that first night and a set of clothes for the next day.
Finally, at the bottom of the bags are the other essentials like a hairbrush, toothbrush, soap and other toiletries.
The founders said the backpacks may seem simple, but they can have a big impact.
"We want a child that receives that package to say, this is mine. There's comfort in there. There's hope and a sense of belonging," co-founder Chris Youngdale said.
The bags will be distributed through several existing foster care organizations, including KVC Kansas, TFI, Cornerstones of Care and the local Juvenile Intake and Assessment centers.
Future programs the nonprofit will launch include Fostering Independence, a program to help children who are aging out of the foster care system; a foster parent and foster family support group; a biological family support program; and an adoption information program.
"It doesn't matter what you believe, it doesn't matter where you come from, we can all agree that these things need to change," Silvey said. "And if we all come together as a city, I think that we can make a world impact."
There are several ways people can help with the program. The group accepts monetary donations and $25 covers the cost of one backpack. People can also donate specific items from the group's Amazon wishlist.
Soon, there will also be volunteer opportunities to help fill the backpacks. You can read more about how to help on Care Package Inbound's website.