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Portland foster care advocates asking for help to make sure kids have a safe environment to come back to

The Kinship House is asking for cleaning supplies and kid-friendly face masks so foster children can safely return when reopening is allowed.

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Kinship House in Northeast Portland has been helping kids in the foster care system for over two decades. 

“We operate out of two beautiful old Portland homes. We have all the bedrooms are changed into therapy rooms,” said executive director Natalie Wood. “We provide therapy for kids that have had significant and chronic trauma in their lives either through abuse or neglect.”

For now, the staff is forced to connect with kids virtually, which Natalie says has been successful for some. But there’s nothing like that face-to-face interaction when dealing with childhood trauma.

“It has been a struggle to be disconnected or only connected virtually…we are looking forward to hopefully soon being able to welcome the kids back into our home,” she said.

Natalie says the Kinship House will reopen when it’s safe, and they’ll do so in phases. She's hopeful that reopening is on the horizon, and that the community will help them get there.

“It is a bear trying to find hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes and Lysol spray and face masks and things like that…we’re trying to figure out how to sanitize barbie clothes, it’s a weird world,” she said.

The cleaning supplies and face masks are needed so the staff can continue their work that is highly relational, and often highly emotional.

“Even for a kid that doesn’t have any medical trauma can be really scary, so one thing we are hoping the community can help us with is making some cloth child sized face masks out of fun material,” Natalie said. “Being able to choose a Daniel Tiger face mask instead of the one the doctor wore when I went to the hospital could actually have a profound impact on the work that we’re able to do with them.”

Staying connected and staying resilient has always defined the relationship between the Kinship House and kids. Whether the doors are open or closed, they’re still breaking down walls.

“I think everyone can agree every child deserves a safe and loving family to grow up in, so getting to provide that for kids that don’t have it feels really wonderful to do.”

If you would like to help the Kinship House with their supply drive, visit their website.

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