(FOX 9) - A stable home can be key to a child’s success. A group called “The Reel Hope Project” is trying to make that a reality for children in the foster care system who need permanent homes.
May is Foster Care Awareness Month. In Minnesota, there are over 16,000 kids in the foster care system. The numbers are going up and the state is looking for foster care families to help.
Of that big number, about a thousand children in the state foster care system need permanent loving homes.
Some of those children are part of something called “The Reel Hope Project”—two-minute videos made by a small group of people who want to change the perception of kids in the foster system. The videos are a way to let the world know these kids are not a list of negative adjectives on a piece of paper and that they have a lot to offer that is truly wonderful.
“Our goal is to give counties and agencies a tool to say, 'yes this stuff is real, and that trauma is real and it’s also going to affect this kid, but also look, this kid is still a kid, she still has a laugh and a smile and she’s still joyful and can joke around,'” said Kaycee Stanley, who works on The Reel Hope Project.
Those involved with the project are also letting everyone know the rewards of adopting older children in the foster care system since they make up the majority. In fact, Stanley and her husband are on their way to adopting a 13-year-old from foster care—their first child ever. They met him while creating his video for “The Reel Project.”
“With our son it was like, 'I know you and I like you I like spending time with you,' so for us it was it was the option we felt most confident in,” Stanley said.
With that, Stanley also hopes to dispel the myth that a potential parent is too old to adopt.
“It's helping people understand that a lot of these kids are, like, 15; they don’t need someone who’s going to raise them from infancy, they need someone who’s going to help them get through high school, they need someone to come home to for Christmas and Easter,” Stanley said. “Family doesn’t end when you turn 18. Family’s forever.”
Stanley also wants potential parents to know there is help to navigate the cost, which is not much if you know the right avenues.
The Reel Hope Project shares the videos every week to faith communities and events and has helped to place about 50 foster children into permanent, loving homes.