EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Chippewa County has seen a sharp spike in children in need of foster homes in the last two years according to school officials.
An event Thursday night was seeking the community's help in fighting the problem.
Just outside of Chippewa Falls Middle School, youth football players take the field as families fill the sidelines showing their support.
Meanwhile inside the middle school, meeting a Thursday night is seeking just that, support.
“The trauma that the kids are bringing to school is really affecting them and the needs that they have are significant and they are real and they're serious,” says Carly Rubenzer, a former foster parent.
Rubenzer is talking about the flood of children entering the foster system. Currently in Chippewa County, there are more than 200 children in the system with more than 100 in this calendar year alone.
Thursday evening, a community foster event was held to inform members of the community about how they can help.
“We also have to remember that the children today are tomorrow's decision makers, tomorrows elected officials, tomorrow's workforce,” says Chippewa Falls Area Unified School District Superintendent, Heidi Eliopoulos. “So intervening as a community now is about changing those individual lives now, but also changing the future of our community.”
Thursdays meeting went over becoming a foster parent, a respite placement, or making donations, “And even if you can't provide those things,” says Kari Kerber, Children, Youth and Families Supervisor with Chippewa County. “What we're asking you to do is to provide education to the community, and making those reports when you see someone you think is unsafe and making a report and hopefully it's a continuing cycle that will, in the end, change the community.”
“Every child, no matter if they are in foster care or with their parents, deserve love and to be loved and to feel safe,” says Rubenzer. “And that is our goal, is to increase homes where kids can feel safe.”