Sedgwick County facing shortage of foster care families

Posted: Updated:
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

There are more than 5,000 Kansas children in foster care, and more than 1,172 of them are in Sedgwick County.

With only 700 foster care families in the county, children are often left without a place to go. 

"They sit in offices, alone because there's just not anywhere for them to go," said Jennifer Unruh with Junior League of Wichita.

Foster parent Geneva Benton said she's taken in children after heartbreaking situations. 

"We've had kids that have been abused really badly and that have come into our home," said Benton, "They've never had someone rock them to sleep, they've never had someone tuck them in."

She and her wife began fostering about a year and a half ago. In that short time, more than 24 children have come through their doors. 

They've been able to provide so much more than a place to sleep.

"Clean clothes, new pajamas, any little thing that you can do that's going to be something that they're not used to. That for them is a bright spot in this scary and anxious time that they're already in," said Benton.

Junior League of Wichita wants every foster child to have a home and every parent to feel supported. 

The women teamed up with City Life Church to host Gathered, an event to encourage foster families. 

They invited families from all over Wichita to have a meal and a chance to connect with others in the same situation. 

The hope is to encourage more families to open their hearts and homes to foster children.

The next Gathered event will be held February 1, 2020. 

To raise funds for events throughout the community like Gathered, Junior League of Wichita will hold their annual fundraiser, Holiday Galleria, October 3-6 at Century II. 

The event includes upscale shopping featuring more than 100 merchants. All proceeds will support Junior League of Wichita’s mission of combatting child abuse through awareness, prevention and intervention. 

Since it's start, the League has contributed more than $5.8 million to the Wichita community in the form of community projects and more than $44 million in-kind services in the form of volunteer hours.

To learn more about the event, visit jlwichita.org

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