According to child protective services, there are more than 2,000 kids in the foster system in the Coastal Bend; an estimated 500 are from Nueces County. But there is one problem, there are not enough foster homes in the area.
“Right now about 60 percent of children are being transferred out of our county because there’s not enough foster homes,” says the founder of Agape Ranch Susan Klaus.
Susan Klaus is no stranger to the foster system. She has three adoptive children of her own and frequently fosters other kids. In hopes of making a larger impact, The Agape Ranch was born. A community housing foster children and their families.
“A place that’s a sanctuary for them, where they can heal they can find unconditional love,” says Klaus.
The ranch will be made up of 19 homes, each designed for specific needs including housing for respite care, grandparent figures, foster kids, and kids aging out of the system.
“Right now 94 percent of the kids who are aging out are turning either homeless, incarcerated, they’re going to sex trafficking, prostitution or dead within two years,” says Klaus.
The Ranch will also have a variety of resources, training for new and current foster parents, as well as tutoring and on-sight therapists.
“The playground it’s also going to be a sensory playground so they can do therapy,” says Klaus.
Klaus says the ultimate goal is to not only help kids transition into foster care but change their future for the better.
“The majority of the time it is a generational cycle, what we’re trying to do is break that cycle and say no more, not for you, not from here on out,” says Klaus.
They hope to break ground on the next fall and have part of phase one ready by 2020. They still need a lot of help making this community a reality. For more information on their vision and how you can help visit their website.