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U.S. Representative Mike Bost addresses Riverbend Rotarians

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Protecting Our Children: Foster Care Crisis and Early Intervention

April 14, 20232 min read

“ In March, we served close to 300 Madison County children in our therapy program.” - Erin Bickle

Foster Care Crisis Exposed:
How Early Intervention and Community Support Can Save Lives

At a recent Riverbend Rotary Club meeting hosted by Rotary President Monica Bristow (left), Rotarians were privileged to meet Erin Bickle (right), Executive Director of Refuge For Kids, an organization dedicated to supporting children in foster care. Erin shared her insights on the challenges faced by children in the foster care system in Illinois and the importance of early intervention in preventing adverse childhood experience.

Madison County - #2 most children in foster care

Foster care numbers in Illinois are alarmingly high, with Madison County ranking #2, St. Clair County ranking #1, and Cook County (Chicago) ranking #8 in the state for the highest number of children in foster care.

Co-Sleeping Kills Kids

A recent report revealed a 40% increase in child deaths in contact with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, with many resulting from unsafe sleeping arrangements such as co-sleeping. Erin emphasized the need for community awareness and education on the dangers of co-sleeping.

100% Preventable

Erin stressed the importance of community efforts in building protective factors to strengthen families, such as home visiting programs and early childhood counseling. Early intervention in cases of trauma can greatly improve a child's outcome in adulthood.

Urgent Need

The role of supportive adults, such as coaches, in a child's life is critical. It only takes one loving adult to change the trajectory of a child's life, providing a vital protective factor for vulnerable children.

Erin's presentation highlighted the urgent need for community support and early intervention to protect at-risk children and strengthen families.

To learn more about Refuge For Kids and how you can help, visit their website at https://refuge4kids.org, email info@refuge4kids.org, or call 618-251-9790.

We invite you to join us at the Riverbend Rotary Club to learn more about local community programs and explore opportunities to make a difference. We meet most Thursdays at Senior Services Plus in Alton. For more information, visit our website at www.RiverbendRotary.com.

Executive Director of YWCA and Rotarian Dorothy Hummel stands alongside Erin Bickle, Executive Director of Refuge For Kids, after a thought-provoking presentation on foster care and early intervention at a recent Riverbend Rotary Club meeting.

Executive Director of YWCA and Rotarian Dorothy Hummel stands alongside Erin Bickle, Executive Director of Refuge For Kids, after a thought-provoking presentation on foster care and early intervention at a recent Riverbend Rotary Club meeting.

foster careearly interventioncommunity supportRiverbend RotaryErin BickleRefuge 4 Kidsprotective servicesvulnerable childrenlocal programs
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Eric McRoy

Eric McRoy is a dedicated community leader and active member of the Riverbend Rotary Club. With a passion for service and a keen interest in making a positive impact on the lives of others, Eric lends his experience and expertise to various local initiatives. As a skilled communicator and enthusiastic volunteer, he enjoys sharing stories of the club's accomplishments, inspiring others to join the mission of creating lasting change in the Riverbend area and beyond.

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Speaking to a Rotary Club audience can be an exciting, but sometimes daunting, opportunity.

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Get started with our presentation template today and prepare to make a lasting impression at your next Rotary Club meeting!