KANSAS CITY, Mo. — We tell you every so often about how foster kids need your help. Recently, someone saw one of our stories as a call to action.
FOX4 spoke with a former foster child about why he wanted to be an advocate himself — especially since the pandemic hit.
Shamarr Fonville’s calling came when he least expected. When he saw that child abuse reports were down 50% due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he knew he had to act.
“The timing was just right. You kind of felt like that interview spoke to me,” Fonville said. “And I called here and was able to kind of get in class and get started.”
Fonville is now a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for foster children in Jackson County. As a former foster child, he said he hopes he can not only help with the need, but also show kids he understands.
“When you’re in a system, it’s hard to really trust people, and then when you have somebody who constantly see you could trust, you start to open up more,” Fonville said.
Angie Blumel, the President and CEO of Jackson County CASA, said reports of child abuse remain low and steady since their first numbers in March. She expects the number to rise once children begin seeing doctors and teachers again. She said there are many children in desperate situations during the stay-at-home order.
“While calls are down, we know that abuse and neglect is still happening,” Blumel said. “We’re trying to prepare for that time when, again, children are back in the community, and we’re seeing more instances of abuse and neglect being reported, and we’re seeing more kids come into care.”
The organization shifted all of their training online. Meetings are done on Zoom along with individual home study. Fonville hopes his decision to help inspires others.
“Doing everything virtually… it really was convenient,” Fonville said. “So anybody out there that has a full time job and has a family, I can tell you that you can get this done.”