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Foster Families Needed to Keep Kids Within Wichita County


In an effort to INform, INspire, and INgage, 2INgage held a forum to educate the public on the need for foster homes in Wichita County on April 17.

“We’ve just always known we wanted to care for kiddos in our community,” foster parent Amanda Irby said.

In a packed room, Irby sat as the lone foster parent. She and her fiancé have been providing this service for over three years, housing 14 kids in the span.

“We’ve been able to fight for our kiddos to get back home and fight for biological families,” Irby said. “We get to help see redemption in their stories. We get to see beauty from the ashes of these really broken stories and see them build back up and get to go home to their family and be whole again.”

Now, Irby and 2INgage are working to inspire families to step up in Wichita County to foster.

According to 2INgage Senior Vice President Randy Neff, the need is dire, with more than half of the 201 kids housed outside the county.

“Wichita County does have one of the higher per-population rates of children in foster care. So that is something, again, that we do have more kids that enter foster care. We need more foster homes to help keep their children local when they do have to enter foster care,” Neff said.

Needing 28 involved foster homes, 2INgage is ready to provide support to foster families to help kids stay local during such a stressful time in their lives.

“We don’t set families up for unrealistic expectations in that if kids go to a place with families that are going to be successful,” Neff said. “Let us know what the challenges are. We’re here to support you.”

Irby encourages families never to give up and calls for more families to foster.

“Every kiddo is just different,” Irby said. “So, what we do with one kid won’t work with another kid. So just being very patient and learning what works best for our kiddos and advocating for them.”

The average age of a foster child in Wichita County is around nine years old.