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Love for a Child supports foster families through COVID-19

Emergency funds distributed by The Children’s Foundation helped Love for a Child take its services online.

By Marti Benedetti for Crain’s Content Studio

Emergency funding from The Children’s Foundation is “sealing a crack” in taking care of families with foster children during COVID-19, said Joe Savalle, founder of Oxford-based Love for a Child.

The organization is primarily funded through Savalle’s monthly speaking engagements. Those have been canceled since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, leaving a gap in the organization’s budget.

The Children’s Foundation, the state’s largest funder dedicated solely to children’s health and wellness has dispersed more than 20 emergency grants since March through its COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund. The funding is designed to support children and families by providing for essential needs such as food, diaper and formula purchases and by supporting  technology that will help transition health and wellness services online.

Love for a Child provides food and other vital goods for foster families. It also funds a mentorship program that allows mentors to take foster children on educational field trips. It provides various specific needs for families; one family received two iPad Minis for its six children, for instance, so the organization could keep in touch with the kids.

“Foster care is at an all-time high since the pandemic started,” Savalle said. “That is because some families can’t afford their foster children now.” Some children have been temporarily moved to the Children’s Center in Flint, another foster care home or with a relative.

“We want to make sure our kids are getting some sense of normalcy during this time,” he said.

Love for a Child received its emergency funding in March and is trying to distribute it slowly, making it last until July. “From an organizational standpoint, it’s an honor to have a partner like The Foundation. We don’t know what is to come.”

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