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To support Nebraska's foster youth with quality clothing and basic care items with dignity, respect and cheerful giving

Hattie Lee Strickland was born in the summer of 1966. Born the 4th child into a home of an alcoholic father and a mother with an 8th grade education, even under the best of circumstances, life would have been a struggle. But, Hattie wasn’t born into the best of circumstances and sometime before her first birthday, was introduced to foster care.

Hattie Lee Strickland became a number for the Department of Health and Human Services. She went from being a baby with a name and face and personality to a piece of paper with basic information.

In 2006 the telephone rang and on the other end of the line was an agency worker asking if Patrick and Leigh Esau would be willing to take placement of 3 little ones. There twins were 3 and the baby was 2 months. Two hours later, three little girls were at our door. In the Midwest in March the weather can still be chilly and this particular year there was 17 inches of snow on the ground. The twins wore spring-like clothing and the baby only had the diaper and sleeper she was wearing. After a mad dash to the local Walmart, we had purchased the necessary items to help the girls be comfortable in our home. Simple things like toothbrushes and pajamas. New socks and underwear and baby items including diapers, wipes and formula. Out of this placement, and those who came before, the Foster CARE Closet was born. An understanding that there had to be a better way to meet the needs of children coming into care was a driving force to begin to formulate an idea into a service.

I became passionate about helping children come into foster care with their basic clothing needs met. It was two-fold, really. Giving children the very basic clothing while doing so in a respectful and dignified manner. At the same time, helping foster parents, like my husband and I, be able to stop looking at the checkbook to determine if we could take in a placement and start looking at how we could meet the emotional needs of those we were caring for immediately.

It was eye opening to understand that how children were coming into foster care in the 2000s was exactly the same way in the 1960s. 40 YEARS had gone by and yet, the needs of this group of children had remained unmet.

In 2012 a collaborative effort was formed between the Foster CARE Closet and the Department of Health and Human Services to provide a child-friendly, home-like environment for youth to be brought while waiting for a proper foster placement to be found. At the Intake CARE Center children are fed and given 5 outfits of clothing BEFORE heading to their new foster placement. This new way of introducing children into foster care is changing lives!!

We NEED your help to continue to serve the foster youth and those who care for them. Please join us in changing how foster care feels for the youth in Nebraska with a generous donation.

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Organization Information

643 S 25th Street
Suite 8 LINCOLN, NE 68510




To support Nebraska's foster youth with quality clothing and basic care items with dignity, respect and cheerful giving

EIN: 260595115

Reports: Guidestar


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