MITCHELL, S.D. (KELO) — There’s always a need for more foster families in South Dakota.
Fortunately, there are people like the woman you’re about to meet who have been stepping up for years to care for children.
Running a household is a full time job.
“Typical home with very active kids. Running to appointments and making sure they’re going to school,” Foster Mom Kay Currey said.
But it’s not a job for Currey. Raising foster children is her life.
“I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. It’s tough, but so rewarding,” Currey said.
She and her husband Jason were inspired to get involved by his aunt and uncle who were foster parents.
“Also, we couldn’t have children of our own so that’s another way we thought it’d be helpful,” Currey said.
Currey has been a foster mom for 16 years.
For the past eight years cared for more than 30 children through the Abbott House, which is located in Mitchell and Rapid City but serves kids throughout the state.
Mikayla Brant lived with the Currey family for about two years as a teenager after she was removed from a tough life at home.
“I went through abuse as a kid and trauma as a child,” Brant said.
It caused the now 21-year-old to harm herself when she was younger. Brant says the Curreys showed her what parents should be.
“They’re like parents I didn’t have, especially Jason because I haven’t had a father figure in my life. Having him in my life has helped me understand that not all men are horrible people and I can actually trust men,” Brant said.
It’s now been six years since she tried to hurt herself.
“I didn’t think I was going to be here and it’s really surprising that I’m 21. I didn’t think I was going to make it to 21. And I’m here and it feels great because I’m going to be successful in my life. And I’ve overcome a lot as a child. The odds have always been against me and I’m overcoming it and it feels really good,” Brant said.
More kids could have a chance at overcoming struggles thanks to a new project by the Abbott House.
The non-profit is raising $3 million to add to its services in western KELOLAND.
“The expansion in Rapid City will add 12 beds for the foster care program and four double-occupancy apartments for the independent living program.
The apartments will be for young people who are aging out of the foster care system.
“If you can imagine being 18, moving out on your own without a family or anybody to support you when something came up in your life and how difficult that would be…that’s the position some of these kids are in,” Abbott House Executive Director Eric Klooz said.
Klooz says the new apartments will help the organization set more people up for success.
“We put a lot of time and resources into the young people in our state and it is tragic that they get to be 18 and they don’t have enough services to follow them. The statistics clearly show that kids that transfer from the foster care system that have additional supports have some wonderful outcomes,” Klooz said.
While Brant now lives on her own, she’s working toward the outcome she wants for herself. She plans to go to college and is considering becoming a nurse.
“I think that’s what I want to do and maybe what I’m here for,” Brant said.
As for her former foster mom Kay:
Kelli Volk: So what do you see in your future as a foster parent?
Kay Currey: Being here and doing it until I can’t anymore.
Kelli Volk: So that would be many more years probably.
Kay Currey: Yes.
That means more children will get the home and hope they need. You can contribute to the Abbott House campaign by clicking here.
Once you’re there, you’ll also be able to nominate someone for the Foster Parent Champion Award until May 31st.