A Growing Problem Could Mean Smaller Christmas For Area Kids - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/13/07

A Growing Problem Could Mean Smaller Christmas For Area Kids

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The number of area kids in foster care and group homes is growing. Children's protective services tell us the amount has nearly doubled.

At this time last year there were 400 kids in foster care or group homes, that number has now increased to 706 kids. But the extra kids does not mean more funding and that lack of funding will impact the holidays this year.

Each year kids in foster care and group homes fill out a Christmas wish list.

The Lubbock County Community Partners Board makes sure the kids receive their top three items for Christmas. But this year several hundred kids will not receive gifts from the board due to lack of funding.

The wish list gives the 16 children who live at the South Plains Children's Shelter a chance to dream. The lists so far include requests for I-Pods, movie passes, dolls and trucks, but this Christmas these wishes might not come true.

"We received a letter from CPS stating that this year they would not be able to provide our children in the shelter any type of Christmas gifts. They would provide gifts to children in residential treatment and foster homes only," says Phyllis Johnson, the executive director at the South Plains Children's Shelter.

Johnson says that leaves them out in the cold this holiday season.

They've always given gifts. "The kids had a choice of three items and they've always received those and this is the first year they've not had funding to do that," says Johnson.

Johnson says the holidays are especially difficult for the children living at the shelter. Most have been removed from homes where they were abused or neglected.

Still CPS Spokesman Greg Cunningham says funding or not, no child will go without a gift.

"We are trying to find more money in the next year," says Cunningham.

But this year the children's shelter hopes the Lubbock community can give these children the Christmas they deserve.

"I believe Lubbock is a very giving community," says Johnson.

"Every Christmas is about family time and it's very difficult for our children who aren't with their families at this time," says Lino Garcia, the Program Administrator at the South Plains Children's Shelter.

It's the one wish above all these children hope will someday come true.

The Children's Home of Lubbock and Buckner's Baptist Children's Home will also not receive Christmas gifts for their kids from the Lubbock County Community Partners Board this year.

If you would like to help, the kids have requested movie passes to Tinseltown, restaurant gift certificates, gift cards from Wal-Mart, Kmart, Target and Old Navy, disposable cameras, digital cameras, personal CD players or AM/FM radio, MP3 players, I-Pod, watches, backpacks for school, duffel bags and suitcases for moving, sports equipment and board games, decks of cards, puzzles, Frisbees, etc.

Please do not wrap the gifts.

If you would like to make a donations, send money to:

South Plains Children's Shelter, Inc.                                                                                           P.O. Box 802                                                                                                                          Lubbock, TX 79408                                                                                                                Contact Phyllis or Lino - (806) 747-4933

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