Foster First-Care (FFC) is an outreach ministry created to help foster families during their beginning weeks of placement, and to provide at-need services for arising needs.

Having started the non-profit organization in January of 2019, Executive Director of FFC Debbie Smith said the inspiration behind the organization was her daughter Morgan and son-in-law Ray Cossin.

The Cossins had begun fostering through a local agency when they realized there was a great need for foster parents in this area.

They discovered when fostering a child, there is a short timeframe between receiving the child and obtaining the financial assistance needed to help support them. Seeing how this could be hard for some families, Smith decided she would start an organization to help foster families and children in those moments when a child is first taken into foster care.

Smith said most children go into foster homes with only the clothing on their back. Her hope is to be of support to the foster parents and make the transition less stressful on everyone.

FFC focuses on three main areas of care for emergency placements; larger items - such as furniture or car seats, basic essentials – such as clothing or hygiene items, and ongoing supplies - such as diapers and formula, until funding is in place.

Smith said the greatest need is for larger items.

“In emergency placements, sometimes you may get siblings and need bunk beds or dressers,” Smith said. “We have found the item that is needed the most, is a car seat.”

The items available through the FFC program are solely based on donations received. Smith said when a need arises that is unavailable, she makes every attempt to fulfill that need.

Smith’s future goals involve starting a foster support group to be able to provide encouragement and further assistance to those in the system that may require help in ways other than financial needs.

From 12-5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 26, United Bank located at 113 North Street in Ripley, is hosting their second annual Foster Fall Festival. FFC will have a booth set up at the event.

This is a free community event to raise awareness of the needs of foster families. Food, crafts, games, and prizes will be provided. There will be opportunities to purchase raffle tickets for prize baskets as well.

Smith encourages everyone to come out to the event and learn more about their cause.

Anyone wishing to donate to Foster First-Care may contact Debbie Smith at 304-508-8280. FFC is also on Facebook under Foster First-Care.