Grand County Middle School students and Honor Society have had a tradition of raising money to buy Christmas gifts for children in foster care. Since they began their tradition in 2005, they have raised $5000. This year the middle school was able to raise $566.
There are about 2700 children in foster care in Utah. Grand and San Juan counties tend to average between 55 and 75 children in foster care at any given time.
“These are children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect,” said Geri Swift, Utah Foster Care’s foster family recruiter in Moab. “They often struggle with being away from friends, family, and their community.”
She said donations like those provided by Grand County Middle School go a long way to help children in foster care have a more normal childhood.
“They are used not only during Christmas, but all year long to help pay for things like music lessons, prom dresses, or registration to participate in youth sports,” Swift said.
In Grand and San Juan Counties, there are only 10 licensed foster families available.
“We need more families,” Swift said. “As much as donations help, what these children need more than anything is a safe home. A place they can stay temporarily while their parents work things out, or permanently if their parents are unable to. A home in their community, so that they can maintain relationships with friends and attend the same school.”