Wichita in need of emergency foster parentsPosted: Updated:
Take a look around Neva and Kelsey Bentons' home and you'll soon realize they have kids. Not just any kids -- they open their home to children taken from the worst conditions.
The Bentons are emergency foster parents for the Wichita Children's Home. When police find abused or neglected kids, those little ones need a place to stay for 72 hours until investigators figure out a placement plan.
"That's what's so hard for us," Kelsey Benton said, "because I want to take them all. If nothing else we'll pull out the air mattress."
Every year, about 7,000 kids are taken into police protective custody. The Children's Home takes the older kids, but the younger ones are placed into the emergency foster homes.
"As soon as police call us we start looking for placement," said Debbie Kennedy, director of the Wichita Children's Home.
Kennedy said Wichita has 50 emergency foster parents, but more are needed.
"And that need just continues to increase as we are finding more and more children who need placement because of suspected child abuse and neglect exploitation, abandonment all of those things that are frightening for children to experience," she said.
Last year, 108 kids had to sleep on office floors because there weren't enough emergency foster parents. So far this year, that number is at 167.
The Bentons have had 12 kids who needed emergency care since April. And they hope to take even more in the coming months.
Click here for more information about becoming an emergency foster parent.
If you'd like to donate to the Children's Home, KAKE is a proud partner with the Junior League of Wichita. Its annual fundraiser, 'Holiday Galleria," starts Thursday at Century II.