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- September 2, 2020
The call came in from the girl on her own. “My name is Lakin*. I’m headed to my caseworker’s office and I need a placement. I will not go to the shelter, I’ve been there before. Can you please help me? A friend told me that Let It Be Us can help me. I need a mom but not the kind of mom that is mean. I need a mom who can help me learn to take care of myself. I’m alone.”
“Sure, we can help you,” our recruiter said. “The first step is to have your caseworker complete the form that she can find on the front page of our website. Have her go to www.letitbeus.org.” Lakin asked, “What if she won’t? Can you help me anyway? I’m so afraid to go to the shelter.”
Moments later the form came in from the caseworker and our team went to work.
At Let It Be Us we operate a database of licensed foster homes located throughout Illinois. We have over 700 homes currently listed, all self-reported, as each home has openings for specific types of children. In this case, we needed a home near Champaign, Illinois willing to parent a 17 year old girl. A girl who is resourceful. A girl who is resilient. A girl who refuses to go to the shelter.
Our recruiters turned in 4 homes and none were to their liking for one reason or another. Throughout the day Lakin would call our number. The last call came at 4:30 pm. “My caseworker is out getting me something to eat. Have you found a home for me?” Our recruiter told her, “We are still working and we will continue to work throughout the night. We will not give up on you Lakin.”
Our team assumed that Lakin went to the shelter. We felt defeated. We continued to search. We did not give up. As it turned out, Lakin spent the night in her caseworker’s office, refusing to go to the shelter. At Let It Be Us we know what happens when girls like Lakin are forced to go to the shelter, they run away, they become homeless and can be trafficked.
The next day, while Lakin remained firmly planted in her caseworker’s office, we found the perfect home. The mom is a nurse, the dad is an EMT, they are experienced parents, they are experienced foster parents, they have 4 dogs, and they welcomed Lakin.
The last call we got from Lakin was the next morning, at 7:30 am. She called to thank us. “These are really nice people. I slept in a bed. They have a house full of dogs! I’m here with them now getting set up at a new school. I’m going to be e-learning from their house. It’s a nice house. Thank you for all you did for me.”
While Lakin’s story has a happy ending, we do see children of all ages spending nights in caseworkers’ offices, going into placements that won’t last long and, yes, going to the shelter. Learn what it means to be a foster or adoptive parent by attending one of the Let It Be Us Foster and Adoptive Parent Recruitment Webinars where you will hear from experts and experienced foster and adoptive parents. Learn more at www.letitbeus.org/events.
Caseworkers and investigators needing help with placements are encouraged to work with Let It Be Us by completing the form here: https://letitbeus.wufoo.com/forms/agency-referral-targeted-recruitment/
*Names in this story have been changed to protect the identity of minors.
Let It Be Us is a Child Welfare Agency licensed by the State of Illinois and DCFS. We recruit foster and adoptive families throughout Illinois, and support providers in matching youth to foster homes. We operate a proprietary database of over 700 Illinois licensed foster homes.