Rep My Cause: Foster Care


Ashley Lepse on Foster Care

What cause are you representing and why is it important to highlight?

Foster Care. There are about 16,000 kids in the Illinois foster care system. These kids have been removed from their home due to abuse and/or neglect. They often have to move neighborhoods, schools, and get separated from their siblings when they enter the system. These are our future teachers, doctors, and leaders. It takes a village to raise a child and there are many ways to get involved and help.

What new or innovative developments are taking place to either increase awareness or to address the issue itself?

Recently, there has been more collaboration around foster parent recruitment efforts. Pulling together resources and information. Foster care and adoption has also been in the media more. There are movies and facebook groups that raise awareness on the issue. Former youth are also involved in the awareness and advocacy efforts. There are so many ways to get involved.

How can YNPN members (18-35) and supporters help or get more involved? (Think broadly)

YNPN members can support and get involved in this cause in many ways. On a direct level, we are in great need of foster and foster-to-adopt families, as well as, therapeutic mentors. We have monthly foster parent information sessions to share about the process to becoming a foster parent.  If you’re not able to provide that level commitment, there are plenty of ways to still support our cause. You could also support by helping us with foster parent recruitment and awareness. Here’s a list of ways to get involved and support us in these efforts:

  • Donate space at your organization or place of worship for our foster parent information sessions.
  • Publicize our foster parent information sessions in your weekly newsletters.
  • Invite us to host a booth at your upcoming event.
  • Collaborate with us on an awareness event at your local organization. We would love to hold a storytelling or art event to spread awareness about foster care and adoption.

Is there anything else you’d like us to know about your cause?

If you are interested in helping by becoming a foster parent, therapeutic mentor, or with any of the above areas, please feel free to contact Ashley Lepse at

Ashley Lepse, Recruitment and Support Specialist, Hephzibah Children’s Association