RACINE — The Racine County Human Services Department collaborated on a new documentary film called “(un)wanted,” which spotlights the foster care crisis in southeastern Wisconsin.

Produced and directed by Joey Papa, “(un)wanted” was released on Oct. 30. Papa created the film to raise awareness of how children enter foster care and the dire need for community support and engagement in small and large ways. The project emerged as Papa learned more about the need for fostering children in his surrounding communities.

“I knew I wasn’t able to foster a child tomorrow, but I needed to do something and that something is this film,” said Papa.

A public speaker and self-described “media maker,” Papa, of Wind Point, first learned about the crisis from Heather Lojeski. Longtime foster parents Heather and Mark Lojeski created the nonprofit Faith, Hope & Love about four years ago. The organization helps kids in crisis, like foster children, by providing them with duffel bags filled with comfort items and personal care products.

Papa’s goal is to “inspire the people of southeastern Wisconsin to take action,” stressing that “everyone can do something.”

“(un)wanted” addresses the steady rise in the number of children entering foster care and the decline in homes available to take children.

“‘(un)wanted’ aligns with Racine County’s work to resolve these challenges,” said Hope Otto, Racine County Human Services director. “We reallocated resources to increase foster family recruitment and retention, and we engaged the community this past year through our Racine County Foster Care Task Force. We are determined to make sure our kids in crisis have the best outcomes possible.”

In addition to the Racine County Human Services Department, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Saint A’s, Safe Families of Wisconsin and Agape House also collaborated on the film. To access the film or for resources, go to www.unwantedthefilm.com.

For more information on foster care in Racine County, contact Kerry Milkie, Youth and Family Manager, at 262-638-6511 or go to www.racinecounty.com/fostercare.

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Alyssa Mauk covers breaking news and courts. She enjoys spending time with her family, video games, heavy metal music, watching YouTube videos, comic books and movies.

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