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Pictured left to right: Andrea McClean, foster parent recruiter at Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, and Lauren Johnson, marketing manager at Kunes Auto & RV Group, laughing as they drive in a 2024 Ford Mustang GT

Text reads: Kunes Car Convos; Andrea McClean Talking about Lutheran Social Services!

Lutheran Social Services of Illinois

Published on Apr 17, 2024 by Talia Mushinsky

Kunes Car Convos: Lutheran Social Services and the 2024 Ford Mustang GT

In this episode…

  • 2:27 - How to become a foster parent 🔍
  • 5:43 - Discover local foster parent support groups 🤝
  • 8:33 - Why is this so important? 🌟
  • 11:34 - Mark your calendars! 📅

Opening Hearts and Homes: The Essential Role of Foster Care in Our Community

Today, we're diving deep into a cause close to our hearts—the Lutheran Social Services of Illinois Foster Care Program. As we cruise through the streets in the sleek 2024 Ford Mustang GT, Lauren Johnson, our Marketing Manager, chats with Andrea McClean, a passionate foster parent recruiter at LSSI. This discussion couldn't come at a better time, as May is Foster Awareness Month, shedding light on the urgent need for foster parents in Illinois.

Understanding LSSI's Mission

Lutheran Social Services of Illinois has been a beacon of hope for over a century and a half. Founded during a cholera epidemic in Andover, IL, LSSI started as a children’s home for orphans and has evolved into a comprehensive provider of foster care among other vital services. The organization stands firmly on the principles of healing, justice, and wholeness, acknowledging and tackling the disparities and systemic barriers that continue to affect people of color and marginalized communities.

The Urgent Need for Foster Parents

In the Quad Cities, hundreds of children are in need of a safe and loving home. Andrea emphasizes that while efforts are made to keep children with their families, the reality is that many children require alternative care. This shortage of foster parents is especially critical in Rock Island, Henry, Mercer, and Bureau counties where Andrea and her team often travel extensively to license new foster homes.

Becoming a Foster Parent: The Process

For those considering foster parenting, Andrea outlines the path to becoming a foster parent, starting with an initial call to LSSI. The process involves thorough background checks, health clearances, and comprehensive training provided by the Department of Children and Family Services. Safety inspections and home studies ensure that each home is prepared to meet the unique needs of foster children, many of whom have experienced significant trauma.

Support and Resources for Foster Parents

Recognizing the challenges of foster parenting, LSSI, along with local nonprofits like Foster Hope in Atkinson, provides robust support networks. These groups offer everything from activities to support meetings, helping foster parents navigate the complexities of caregiving and ensuring they are never alone in their journey.

Community Engagement and Events

Looking to get involved? Mark your calendars! 

LSSI has several events lined up, including the first-ever Foster Faire on June 21st at Marketplace at 2500 in Moline, IL. This event will feature food trucks, and activities, and provide information on how you can support foster care efforts, whether or not you choose to become a foster parent.

For those who enjoy a round of golf, don’t miss the Chip in Fore Children Golf Outing at Highland Springs Clubhouse on September 14th, 2024. It’s a fun way to contribute to this vital cause, with registration available on the LSSI website.

Join the Cause

As we wrap up our conversation in the Mustang GT, we're reminded of the power of community and the difference each of us can make. Whether you’re ready to open your home or support in other ways, the need is great and the time to act is now! 

At Kunes Ford of East Moline, we're more than just a dealership; we're a part of the community we serve. Join us in supporting the LSSI Foster Care Program and help us drive positive change in the lives of children and families across Illinois.


Together, we can make a difference!

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