Crystal on Iowa's Child - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Crystal on Iowa's Child

"Crystal's a great kid. She has a wonderful sense of humor. She's very happy," says Iowa foster mom, Pam Mellott. Pam is foster mom to 15-year old, Crystal. Crystal is a very good student in school and loves to sing, dance and swim. What's missing in her life is a new family. Crystal hopes to find a family through Iowa KidsNet. Just a nice family, says Crystal, who says, "To me, a nice family is a family that cares enough about me, and loves me no matter what."

Crystal has a younger sister, Elizabeth. Liz was also recently featured on Iowa's Child. It's hoped these two sisters will be adopted by the same family. Iowa KidsNet is confident that will happen, but, if adopting the sisters together is not possible, then they will be adopted by separate Iowa families.  Of her relationship with Liz, Crystal says, "We act like best friends, and we really love each other." Crystal isn't the only one saying great things about her sister, Liz.

"After everything she's been through, she still has a pure heart," says Beloit caseworker and adoption specialist, Angie Summers, as she talks about twelve year old Elizabeth, or Liz, as she likes to be called.  .

Liz says she wants a family that laughs a lot and does things together. "I like to dance, play music and sing," she says. "Family to me means they love me and care about me." Angie has seen Liz makes great strides in getting ready for a new family. "She still has a lot of offer a family, as far as being part of a family. She is a very unique and fabulous person. She's creative and doesn't give up. Any family who welcomes Liz into their home needs to know that she needs a lot of affirmation. She needs a lot of, I need to know you care about me."

Crystal and Liz are just two of the many ‘Waiting Children' in Iowa. These Iowa kids are legally free for adoption through the State of Iowa and the Iowa Department of Human Services. To find out more about Elizabeth, Crystal and other ‘Waiting Children' call 1-800-243-0756 or contact: or

Iowa KidsNet is there to help Iowa kids. Though only a little more than one year ago, the Iowa KidsNet project is already having a positive impact helping Iowa kids live in a safe environment and reach their full potential. This is a unique partnership of six-non profit Iowa agencies, headed by Four Oaks, to help Iowa children and families.

The Iowa foster care system served more than 11, 700 children in just one year. Startling statistics, which emphasize the need to make sure all Iowa kids live in a safe and loving environment.

Iowa KidsNet is headquartered at the Four Oaks complex in Cedar Rapids. The other agencies include Quakerdale, Lutheran Services in Iowa, Family Resources, Children's Square USA/Child Connect and Boys and Girls Home and Family Services.

In addition, Iowa KidsNet gets support from Youth and Shelter Services, The Avalon Center, Young House Family Services, Children and Families of Iowa and American Home Finding Association.

The Iowa Department of Human Services awarded Iowa KidsNet a contract to serve as an adoption and foster care recruitment tool, and to create safe, permanent connections between children and families through foster care. Unfortunately, Iowa currently has more children in foster care than families available to provide them a safe environment while in foster care.

The need for foster and adoptive parents in Iowa remains great. In fiscal year 2006, the State of Iowa, through various agencies, served 11,748 children in the Iowa foster care system, On any given day in Iowa, some five-thousand children live in Iowa foster homes. Those are truly amazing statistics.

The Iowa Department of Human Services has embarked on a new initiative regarding foster care and adoptions. D-H-S recently awarded a contract to a new statewide collaboration of non-profit agencies dedicated to the safety and permanency of children and families; it's called Iowa KidsNet. This new network consisted of almost a dozen agencies. Four Oaks in Cedar Rapids is the lead agency in this new effort to recruit and retain resource families who are interested in foster care and adoption of Iowa children. Iowa Kids Net will also work with the long-running Iowa's Child Special Needs Adoption program on KWWL-TV. 

To learn more about Iowa KidsNet and becoming a foster or adoptive parent, you can easily contact Iowa KidsNet on its toll-free number 1-800-243-0756. If this number sounds familiar, it should. It's the same toll- free phone number which has been used by Kidsake over the past few years. Iowa KidsNet is replacing Kidsake, and will build on the successful efforts of Kidsake under this new recruitment and retention effort.     

Anne Gruenewald is Chief Executive Officer of Iowa KidsNet. Contact Anne on the internet at:

 This website will also show you many of Iowa's ‘Waiting' Children. These are children in the Iowa foster care system currently available for legal adoption,

Ron Steele

KWWL-TV News Anchor

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