Her journey to becoming the leader of a family of six began when her oldest niece, now 13, showed up at Ashleigh’s house and asked to stay. Several months later, she took in a second niece, who’s 5 now, then her nephew, 7 months. That’s three kids in less than a year in addition to her own two children.
May is Foster Care Month, a time we honor all foster parents and talk about the need for more. The theme this year is Relative and Kin Connections: Keeping Families Strong. It emphasizes that families are a source of stability and comfort.
When children cannot safely stay with a parent, the first place we look for caregivers is their kin. We now have more than 500 children in our custody who live with relatives in certified kinship homes. We thank every one of these protectors for opening their homes when these children needed help.
We understand it’s a lot to take on extra kids. And yet Ashleigh, with help from her mom, handles it all every day.
“Stuff happens,” she said. “You have to deal with it. You owe children a good childhood.”