It takes a village

Mark DeLap
Posted 3/22/23

A weekly editorial by Mark DeLap

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

It takes a village


We take a lot of care to help our children in Platte County. Not only our own, but all. It is a shame to see some who slip through the cracks or don’t get the care they are needing.

Some children, no fault of their own come from very broken homes and dire circumstances. Children have to face enough adversity without having to worry about the basics. Basics like a stable home, a roof over their heads, meals on a table and a comfortable bed to sleep in.

The new foster care coordinator for DFS in Platte County, Genesis Cappelli has come to the entire community with a very great need.

“Currently, we have a handful of foster parents in Platte County and are in dire need of getting some more, we have previously tried reaching out to local church communities, booths at local events, and will be hanging up fliers as well.”

The data for Platte County is overwhelming. We currently have anywhere between 10-30 children in Foster Care in Platte County at all times. Within the past year we probably have had at least 30-50 children, and these can be reoccurring cases (kids coming back into custody after being reunified with parents), and this does not include other families that DFS works with; this is just foster placement cases.

“Foster children aren't necessarily "increasing" but it just fluctuates depending on how many cases Platte County has,” Cappelli said. “Due to confidentiality reasons, we can't disclose specifics on certain foster children or staff information such as names, but we do currently have four social services workers, one social services aide and one social services supervisor in Platte County that handle all of these cases.”

There are many times that the Department of Social Services (DFS) has gotten a bad reputation and for every one bad story, there are 100 good stories. People fail to realize that DFS is not about splitting up families, but creating healthy families and in cases where children have to be relocated, the social workers work tirelessly toward a successful ending and reunited families.

In these stressful times where the economy is challenging, jobs that pay enough are scarce and personalities may clash, the answers to solutions may not be readily available. Children should not have to pay the price in those kind of storms. If there is a safe place to harbor for these kids while help is on the way, then the system is working the way it should work.

“Some success stories we have had with foster children can vary,” Cappelli said. “As a department we really try and focus on reunifying the child with their family, and prior to looking for a foster placement we have to explore other relatives. If we don't have any relatives for the child around the surrounding area or state, this is when we look for non-relative foster parents. Our best-case scenario would be if the child is reunified with their original caregiver. In various cases we have had foster parents complete a guardianship or adoption of the child as well, or a relative will end up adopting the child.” 

Currently Platte County has 8 foster parents. So, with the lack of foster parents in the county it causes children to be placed in other counties in the district, such as Torrington, Douglas or Lusk. This causes the children to have to move out of their community and school district.

This can obviously cause a lot of hurt and trauma to kids in the community which is why it's so important to have an adequate number of foster parents so we can keep them in Platte County.

There is a storm brewing in the nation. It’s not only here at home.  Some of the children have fallen overboard. We are experiencing our own version of the Titanic and not enough life boats.

If you are part of the village that feels strongly about providing a safe place for hurting children, you needn’t have to look too far. If you want to help or you have questions about what that help entails, you can call The Department of Social Services at 307-358-8245.