Vicki Prichard, NKyTribune reporter
Each May, during National Foster Care Month, the nation focuses on the needs of children in foster care, raising awareness and encouraging involvement in the lives of these children, whether as foster parents, volunteers or mentors.
But for Gene Blair and Ron Bertsch, focusing on the needs of children seeking foster care goes far beyond a single day of national recognition – it’s a year-round focus.
By Ron Bertsch
Previously published October 2015
On October 1 is St. Therese of Lisieux's feast day. As a life-long member of St. Therese Parish, I recall the special devotion we show our patron saint. Therese is a Saint of our own time, dying in 1897 at the young age of 24. She is known for the “Little Way” in which she loved God, her family and her fellow sisters of the Carmelite Order in France.
Extra special is that her parents, Louis and Zelie Martin are to be canonized this coming Sunday, on October 18, 2015! Together they exemplified the “Little Way” in which a soul on earth can demonstrate the love of God. They trusted God like little children, and did ordinary things with extraordinary love, suffered immensely yet maintained faith and hope.
By Ron Bertsch
Previously published April 2015
It’s like standing downstream and watching hundreds of children falling off the cliff into the raging river! As they rush by, we try to pull one out with a small branch, if a child just happens to grab hold. This is the best analogy that I can use to describe what I experience at DCCH with our community’s child abuse problem. March and April have set record numbers for children referred for foster care placement.
Most of my 29 year career, up until about three years ago, the need was great with an average of 30 or so children referred each month. That equates to one child a day. The numbers started rising in 2013, and I started getting 40, 50, then 60, 70 and 80 by the end of year. That was almost tripling the number of children needing a home. In 2014, again the numbers kept rising. We broke the 100 mark, averaging for the year 134 children a month. The numbers have not declined in 2015. March saw 246 children and when writing this column, April was trending to break nearly 300 children being referred!
The Messenger, March 4, 2011, Ron Bertsch
Eight year old Brian spoke to his therapist the other day, saying he did not think anyone loved him and no one would even care if he died. He is a smart little fellow, but sad because his life has not been very stable. He witnessed terrible domestic violence between his mother and father. Twice he watched his mom try to commit suicide. She struggles with sobriety and depression herself. His dad abuses drugs and alcohol and has a long laundry list of criminal convictions to his name. One can imagine the neglect Brian and his two brothers suffered in this environment.