A child who is placed in foster care likely would find comfort in such items as a stuffed animal.
Children in Crow Wing County are given a backpack filled with a new outfit, pajamas, underwear, socks, a toy, a stuffed animal, a book and grooming items as a gift of comfort when placed in foster care.
Vonie Lee Borle, a Brainerd day-care provider and foster parent, presented this idea to the county social service department in October as a way to help foster children adjust to the drastic change in their life and to help parents.
"It has proven to be a very big self-esteem builder with the children," said Borle.
Borle started the program in Illinois when she was a member of a junior women's club. The club was looking for something to do for Make a Difference Day and thought of the night bags to help the children.
"I'd been a foster parent here in Minnesota and I know what it is like to get children with nothing but a Pamper on," she said. "I got a teen-ager this morning and she had nothing but the clothes she had on."
The bags are for children ages 1 to 16.
So far, about 25 night bags have been made at a cost of about $40 each. Borle brought in the first six bags. The Child Protection Team donated $500 to the project and members of the area day-care association donated their time to put the bags together.
Mary Lindberg, a foster care licenser from the county social service department, said there are about 128 foster children in the county, a decrease of about 12 children from last year. The county has 50 licensed foster care families who open their homes to foster children. The county also has two temporary homes that are used for emergency situations.
Anyone in the community may donate a night bag for foster children. People may call Lindberg at 824-1183 for more information. Lindberg said they would appreciate the donations to be new items, since they already have access to second-hand items.
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