MILWAUKEE — In Milwaukee County alone, almost 100 children are removed from their homes every month because they are deemed unsafe, according to Children’s Wisconsin.
The ongoing public health crisis has increased the need for foster care across the state. Now is the time to consider providing a safe environment for a child in need. Building a strong foundation is what Morgan Lautz has spent the last 10 years doing for elementary and middle schoolers as a teacher in the Milwaukee Public School District.
“Helping kids has always been something that’s been on my heart,” said Lautz.
Since 2019, she’s carried that same love and passion for children from the classroom into her home.
“Because I’ve had experiences with kiddos who just need a lot of love and help, we wanted to help kids and also grow our families,” she said. “So that’s kind of how we got to the decision to start foster care.”
Lautz and her husband now foster four children from Milwaukee after discovering giving birth to children of their own was not a possibility. She said the idea from her husband to care for children in this way was one that hit close to home.
“He goes, ‘You know Morgan, I think that if we tried doing foster care I can help families who don’t get to be around their birth families because I know what that feels like,’ because he is adopted,” she said.
Being a foster mother has had its share of ups and downs, but Lautz said it’s come with rewarding and gratifying memories that she would not trade, especially in a time where a need for foster care is great.
A pandemic where children have spent several months in at-home, virtual learning with little resources, closed after school programs and day cares are to blame. Without those in person advocates, foster care workers in Milwaukee say spotting opportunities for foster care placement falls through the cracks.
At any given time, according to Children’s Wisconsin there are approximately 7,000 youths placed in foster homes across the state; many of them live in and around Milwaukee.
Misconceptions leave applicants hesitant to take that first step towards fostering.
“You can be single, you can have a roommate, I think another big one is that people think there’s a great cost to becoming a foster parent and there isn’t,” said Alissa Getzin, regional director for foster care in Milwaukee.
The primary goal for foster parents is to provide a safe and loving home until they can return permanently to their birth parents.
“It’s of course emotional when you’re connected to a kiddo when they’re in your home, but they’re here for the days they are supposed to be here and God takes care of the rest,” said Lautz.
She hopes her experience will encourage others to step in and care for a child in need.
There are no fees to become a foster parent. Getzin said you are able to get financial assistance from the state to help care for the child, along with free training before obtaining a license.
To take the first steps, or to attend an orientation visit, www.wearefoundations.org.