Reel Hope Project Works to Find Foster Homes as Need Grows

November 14, 2018 10:48 AM

They say a picture is worth a 1,000 words.

When you're talking about the hundreds of Minnesota children in foster care, Kaycee and Pete Stanley decided a single picture just doesn't say enough.


The couple founded The Reel Hope Project back in 2016.

In partnership with counties and adoption agencies, they profile a single child each week and make a video showcasing the child's interests and what they'd like in a forever family.

Then they travel to churches every Sunday to introduce congregations to foster kids in need of care, like 14-year-old Nikolas.

"The thing that comes to my mind when I think of the word 'adoption' is a forever home. A place to be able to know that you're accepted and wanted," said Nikolas in his Reel Project profile video.

"They showed a video and I was totally taken by it," Cori Ragan said.

She and her husband, Rick, had never seriously talked about adoption until the day Reel Hope visited their church.

"Just to see how many kids are out there and waiting and in need of a family just to love on them, it's inspiring," Cori said.

The Ragans became a licensed foster home soon after learning about Reel Hope and are now finalizing the adoption of their 7-year-old son.

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"Without Reel Hope, I don't know if we'd be where we are today," Rick said.

"These kids aren't without families because they're not good enough or because nobody cares about them," Kaycee Stanley said.

She and Pete believe the need is so great because not enough people have a chance to get to know who these foster kids are.

By providing brief, three-minute video snapshots into each child's life, they're helping create a much better, big-picture outcome.

The Reel Hope Project has so far referred 140 families to adoption agencies throughout the state.

If you'd like to invite the Stanley's to come speak at your church, or if you want to check out a few reels for yourself, click here.

According to the Department of Human Services, on an average day, there were approximately 9,900 Minnesota children and young adults in foster care, based on preliminary 2017 data.

The number of children in Minnesota's foster care system on an average day has increased by 12 percent, from approximately 8,850 in 2016 to almost 9,900 in 2017. Over 90 percent are in family foster care. Because of this increase, many county and tribal agencies have a shortage of family foster homes and urgently need additional families to be licensed.

Due to the recent rise in opioid and methamphetamine addiction, the removal of children from homes for parental drug abuse increased from 17 percent of all new placements in 2013 to 29 percent of all new placements in 2017. As of 2016, parental drug abuse has become the most frequently identified primary reason for children to be placed in out-of-home care.

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Katherine Johnson

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


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