RACINE — The Leadership Racine team Bridging the Gap invites the public to attend an open house from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22, at the Volunteer Center of Racine Inc., 6216 Washington Ave., for a first-of-its-kind volunteer program aimed at the growing foster care crisis in Racine County.

The open house will support an effort by Leadership Racine, the Racine County Human Services Department and the Volunteer Center to encourage community members to consider being volunteer caregivers for children awaiting placement.

An average of 250 Racine County children are in foster care each year due to abuse or neglect, according to the Racine Foster Care website. When children are detained, they are often brought to the Racine County Human Services Department while awaiting placement in a foster or relative home.

Volunteer shifts will last between two to four hours, and duties will include:

  • Providing children, from infants to teenagers, with support and engaging activities.
  • Keeping playroom and child care areas clean and organized.
  • Assisting with crafts, games or free play.

“Our goal for the volunteer program is to provide comfort and support for foster children during the transition phase,” said Albert Volmut, executive director at the Volunteer Center of Racine. “We’re proud to partner with Leadership Racine and the county on a project that will have a positive impact on children in our community.”

“It can take several hours to locate a placement for a child, who has to spend time in a room at our facility,” said Dan Chiappetta, Licensing and Recruitment supervisor with the Racine County Human Services Department. “We hope the volunteer caregiver program will ease the process and bring support tow children transitioning into new homes.”

All volunteers must successfully complete a caregiver and criminal background check in addition to training.

For more information about the upcoming open house event and ways to get involved, go to www.volunteerracine.org.

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Community Coordinator

Loreen Mohr is the community coordinator for The Journal Times.

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