Group raises funds to help foster children
Angels for Children of the 39th Judicial Circuit provide emergency support
The first fundraiser for the recently organized Angels for Children of the 39th Judicial Circuit, held recently at the Tom Wolfe Memorial Post No. 4207, Veterans of Foreign Wars, raised approximately $8,000 to help children taking into state custody due to abuse and neglect issues.
The Angels hosted a catered dinner and costume party ahead of a charity auction.
Kara Coley, an officer with the Juvenile Office, which serves Lawrence, Barry and Stone counties, explained that children often end up removed from homes with little more than the clothes on their backs. State resources are limited in supplying immediate needs. The Missouri Division of Children's Services cannot solicit private donations to augment its support. The Angels organized to provide immediate assistance to the children and fill the gap for families that provide homes for them.
"Last year in the 39th Circuit, we received 2,000 abuse and neglect calls," Coley said. "Of those calls that met the requirements [for removing children from the home], 500 kids were moved into state custody."
Coley said there are only 47 licensed foster homes in the circuit. The state provides a stipend to those families, though it takes six weeks for the process to start. Families receive $300 a month for children age 5 and under, $349 for children 6 to 12, and $380 for 13 and older. Families receive a maximum of $300 to $400 a year for clothing. Some grandparents on fixed incomes try to help children related to them.
"If our board feels there is a need we can fill, that's where we come in," Coley said. "We have a $250 emergency fund for situations. Our whole purpose is to help families with these kids. As bad as their situations have been, it's often the only life these kids have known. It's traumatic for them to move. We need to make it easy for these kids and the families that take them."
Auctioneer Ken Knaust led the auction of donated items, with assistance from fellow auctioneer Kelly Lakin.
Debbi Netzer, founder and president of the Angels, said the event was successful and would become an annual event. The Angels also planned to seek funding through area foundations.
Financial donations would be welcomed and may be sent to Angels for Children of the 39th Judicial Circuit, PO Box 491, Monett MO 65708. For additional information, people may contact Netzer at 235-2422.