Virginia, Commonwealth, Ryan discussed on John Reid

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W worthy. When we invite folks who work in the community with our charities and not for profit groups doing great work with lots of different people in the community. And we want to welcome Janet Kelly who's the president of Virginia's kids belong to the air this morning to talk about an organization that she has helped to start that's going national, and Janet I mentioned to you maybe a year ago right after I got here. I went to an event where you were one of the scheduled speakers, and I like you. But when I saw that you were on the scheduled to speak about the foster kids program, I thought oh my goodness. I guess I can I guess I can sit through ten or fifteen minutes of this. And at the end of the at the end of the meeting your story was so moving I just knew we had to get it on the radio. So before we get into the big event tomorrow. I I really want you to tell our audience how you got involved with the foster program, and it's to me. It's just an incredible story of a conservative who talks a lot about family values actually living at Satele tell tell us that story. Well, John thank you so much for saying that, and I'm just I'm humbled anytime. Anyone is inspired by our story. Not just because I hope it Spurs people to action. But because our story is one of those that is one of the best things I've ever done, but it's also been really hard. And so hearing that it's also worth it is really nice. I was secretary of the Commonwealth when I ran into a young woman outside the side on a out of Chick-fil-A at the mall, and she was in a crisis pregnancy situation and just we ended up becoming friends and she had the baby random personally, you just a random person. My daughter had been praying for God to bring someone into our lives to show his jail. So I am assuming that prayer had something to do with that random encounter outside that she was six at the time for was Reagan, by the way, okay? So we this this young lady, and I became friends. She ended up having the baby later that November. He would not supposed to be healthy with have some help. She completely healthy. And it was one of those great stories. I thought well this is and we were very supportive of her. And you know, an of the dad, and I just thought. Wow. This is what everyone is supposed to do. This is how life is face over and everybody just hitches in a little bit. Everything is rosy happy ending story. And it was until about a year later when when this little boy was eighteen months old Ryan, and I and I had just gotten married, and we ended up getting a call from this little boys at Kearney that. I'd like, and and they said, listen, we know you've recently become aware of the foster care crisis in advance. I didn't learn about this even though I was secretary of the Commonwealth. I have been involved in government for fifteen years at this point. I didn't find out about the foster care crisis from a government worker. I gotta about it from. My pastor. So he's the one that said we're fifty permanency we were forty seventh now. But at the time we were fiftieth infirmity, we are we have five hundred kids age on Virginia's foster care system every year because they don't have a loving family. There were at the time eight hundred kids you needed a doctor times. Now, they're only two hundred fifty. So we've done a lot of great working for Jimmy on that. But we're still desire for for flexible foster families, and so I did know all of those things. So when we got the call it was a pretty obvious situation. We're like, okay, we need to we need to do this even that we love them. We've been married three weeks. And I just got married. So we said, yes, we found that we were expecting the next day. So from our honeymoon your own your own kid out of our own baby. So when people say, oh, we got too much going on to foster that you kind of shuffle inside. I don't call them out on on the side side. Because if somebody that's in the governor's cabinet who had just gotten married already had a kid who had a replacement, Donald she got like it. I can do it than anybody can do it. So you brought this little boy this baby in into your home and eventually adopted we did we'd reunification was not successful. We do have an open adoption, which is, you know, I think it's really important for my son to know whose birth parents are to have that identity and how that relationship and his parents are doing well. And you know, it's it's it's a really humbling I will just say that the best way to sum it up. Very humbling experience to get to. Be part of the story and to watch all of the moving parts in the story. And and and see all of the implications from both sort of got my clinical conservative hot on at all times like watching this happened. But I'm also deep in the middle of it. And it is a great example of the power up community. We had a lot of people behind us. You were helping us people. Bring us dinner. We people advocate for him. We have people pray for us. And and that's really a nice segue into our work now because of that personal story did lead into this work. And that inspired you to start Virginia's kids belongs to tell us about this organization. I will and it is a affiliate of national organization called America's kids that Ryan and I helped to co found with another couple in Colorado. So Ryan, and I ended up running the magazine program for governor McDonnell in twenty thirteen last year the administration, and we matched a thousand forty one kids with a doctor. That year which was a significant increase over the previous year. And all we did was use the power of the bully, pulpit and social media. It was dumb. But it wasn't anything sophisticated or smart. I wish it were that we could take credit for. But we ran it where you sort of overlaid, a political campaign model that sense of urgency measuring numbers who is your universe. How are you gonna get people to oppose? We basically overlay that onto eat this effort. Meanwhile, our friends, Brian and Julie Mavis in Colorado had been using high quality pictures and videos of kids in Colorado. And so we basically through a another quite random encounter Ryan and Julie and ended up forming the organization called America's kids along Virginia's kids belong is the third state. We've worked in Oklahoma HIV has worked in Oklahoma and Tennessee, and essentially what all of these organizations do is to empower government, faith, creative and business leaders to end the foster care crisis in their respective states. And in. Oklahoma and Tennessee normally you get a five or ten percent increase in the number late every year. We ran the play. There was a forty four percent increase in the number of foster families and Oklahoma forty two intimacy the first year, we're seeing the retention numbers. Go out and really what this means is it just better outcomes for kids and at risk families. And then you can start doing upstream of the problem and really getting into some of these root causes the sound a little maybe scandalous to say that I would love it. If there weren't any available for adoption of foster care because the community has wrapped around them. So well that they're at risk family are stable and healthy. I think science shows that that is what's best for kids. And if you're a person that say, I think that that I I am I think that's their birth family is kind of God's plan. A if you will. And you know, I would love to see the community step up in that way. And we've seen it work in other states. And I know it's going to work in Virginia. Well, it sounds like it's working and for those of us who consider ourselves to be social conservatives. This is one of those moments where you have. To step forward. And at least be supportive of those who will take these kids into their homes and raise them. Well, you can find out more about Virginia kids belong on their website VA kids belong dot org. And you have an event I'm lot watched the clock. I want you to be able to tell tell us about the event tomorrow. So that folks who want to attend can do so. Sure, it's at eight AM at u-turns words academy. You can go to Virginia fosters dot event. Bright dot com to register and you can also get their website. And this is the launch of our public private partnership with the Commonwealth of Virginia state and local level. And we've been doing amazing work for the last year. And now, we're ready to launch it fully. And would love for anybody who wants to do anything. There's tops component to this. There's a grassroots component to this. And if you have any interest in learning more about this or getting involved, please come tomorrow at eight o'clock or visit our website at the kiss, long dot org. The kids belong dot org. All right, Janet, Kelly. I really if if if this moves your hope, you will consider being supportive on some level, even just sending some good wishes to the folks who were stepping up to help solve this problem, Janet, you're one of the the great points of light. I guess to to steal that from George Bush in this community, and I really appreciate you coming on to share your story. And this a bigger project that you've taken on you and your husband had taken on. Thank you. Very much. Thank you, John. All right. It's nine forty five. And we're gonna come back and talk about President Trump and his scandalous meeting with a Russian yesterday just happens to be the captain of the Stanley Cup winning team. Nobody bothered to say that. Right. 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