Dozens of state leaders visit various organizations to learn more about local children who experience the foster care system

SHAWNEE, Kan. -- More than 7,000 children are in the foster care system in Kansas, and on Monday local leaders had a chance to see life through their eyes.

Dozens of politicians and community leaders took the Journey Home bus tour sponsored by FosterAdopt Connect.

Everyone received a card of a real child in the foster system and went from place to place starting at the Sunflower House to see what they go through when they are abused or torn away from family.

Many call the exercise an eye-opening experience. And a former foster child who helped organize it hopes it inspires them to better the lives of these children.

"It can be very interesting but also very sad to see just how quickly the system moves for kids once they are torn away from mom and dad," said Nathan Ross with FosterAdopt Connect. "So we will give a great example for our community leaders in our community partners to see just what it is for kids who are coming into care."

This is the third year - and first time in Johnson County - that FosterAdopt Connect has hosted this bus tour.

"Everyone has a good heart when they come into foster care so they think it’s really this great experience, but they don’t understand there’s a lot of trauma that comes with being ripped away from your family, ripped away from everything you know," Ross added. "So it really is giving our community a chance to look back and understand the system."