Successful entrepreneur Nicole Roehl spent years in foster care, separated from her five siblings. She says it is an imperfect system that needs as much support as possible. In the following excerpt from a recent interview, the founder of Homelife Warranty Protection opens up about foster care in the US.
Q: How many children currently reside in the foster care system?
Nicole Roehl, Homelife Warranty Protection: In the United States alone, there are approximately 500,000 foster care children at any given time. Ideally, these children would be placed in loving and supportive foster homes until they can be reunited with their families or find their forever homes through adoption.
Q: What kinds of placements are available for children under 18 years of age?
Nicole Roehl, Homelife Warranty Protection: There are three primary types of foster care placement: related foster family, non-relative foster family, and group home or institution. Those are just legal placements; many more thousands of children are placed in the temporary or permanent care of others outside of the foster care system.
Q: What struggles do foster care children face that other children may not?
Nicole Roehl, Homelife Warranty Protection: For many foster kids, it is very difficult to move from home to home. There is always some uncertainty upon waking each day. Growing up, one of the most embarrassing things about moving to a new home or school was having to carry my clothes around in a trash bag. One of the most profound moments in my childhood is when a very caring foster family bought personal luggage for me. It was one of the few things I possessed that was my very own.
Q: Do you support any specific foster care related charities?
Nicole Roehl, Homelife Warranty Protection: My personal charity of choice is Together We Rise, which works with foster care children throughout the United States. Notably, Together We Rise provides each child it supports with their own piece of luggage.