By Brianna Bullion, Correspondent
The community gathered to celebrate Foster Love Bell County at the new Foster Love House on Friday, Feb. 22. Members of the community came to view the house and the facilities it offers for foster children in Bell County.
The Foster Love House provides a facility for children living in foster care who are searching for a home to be placed in. Candace Cartwright, founder of Foster Love Bell County, saw the need for a facility after discovering some needs the organization faced.
“Initially, we were looking for an office space,” Cartwright said. “But then we also wanted to meet other needs in the community. First, we heard about there not being a shower facility in the Temple office, and so we set that up. We wanted to find a property where children could come and get clean and things like that as well.”
Foster Love Bell County also chose to open the Foster Love House to provide a space for children to sleep while in between homes.
“We also knew that some children had to sleep in the offices from time to time when they didn’t have a placement so we put bedrooms on or list too,” Cartwright said.
In addition to providing facilities for children to utilize while waiting for a placement, the Foster Love House provides a conference space for the organization to use and space for a storage closet. The house also has a play area for children.
“We wanted to have a supply closet and play area for children, so we put that on our list,” Cartwright said. “We wanted an environment for them to hang out and play in.”
When searching for the property, Foster Love Bell County realized that their list of needs continued to grow. Luckily, the property the organization purchased provided the perfect opportunity to meet all of those needs.
“Our needs just kind of began to grow and we put things on our list,” Cartwright said. “And then we found this property and it met all of those needs.”
The Foster Love House includes a love closet that has several things children may need during their stay at the house. The love closet also provides a way for the community to get involved in the program through donations.
“The biggest need right now is the love closet,” said Cartwright. “It’s open not just to kids staying here in the house and using the facilities but to case workers as well. Any case worker in Bell County can come by and grab items for kids on their case load. The closet provides emergent needs such as diapers, wipes, lice kits, pajamas and things like that. The Love Closet is going to be an ongoing need we have as it gets used.”
According to the Facebook page, Foster Love Bell County’s mission is to “raise awareness and mobilize the community to care for those in the child welfare system.” The organization meets this mission through events such as the Foster Love House open house, caseworker appreciation dinners and foster fairs. For more information about these events, visit the Foster Love Bell County Facebook page.