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News Channel 8

‘A silent crisis’: Tampa students visit Capitol Hill to advocate for foster kids

TAMPA, Fla (WFLA) — A group of Tampa Bay area middle and high school students are advocating for children in foster care through the See Us Now organization.

The Christian-based organization is fighting for more safe, consistent housing for foster kids. Students ages 11 to 17 have met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill to bring attention to the more than 400,000 foster children who are suffering across the U.S. (read article here)


Spectrum News

CDS cheerleaders take lead on foster care awareness

TAMPA, FL – The Carrollwood Day School cheerleaders are hard at work. They’re preparing their routine for the Senior Night football game against Seffner Christian. But they’re also working on something else.

They’ve organized a See Us Now event. It’s to bring awareness, and give a voice, to the some 22,000 children currently in Florida’s foster care system. (see article / video here)


Tampa Bay Times

Pinellas Sheriff launches criminal investigation into Eckerd Connects

LARGO — Eckerd Connects was paid $80 million by the state this year to provide safe and loving foster homes for Pinellas and Pasco County children taken from their parents because they had been abused or neglected.

But Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said they were no safer in the care of Eckerd Connects. (see article / video here)

Help us spread the word and pass legislation to help foster kids in crisis!

Congressional Action Needed!!: Bring back funding for approved Cottage Group homes and increase funding to hire and train staff.  This will provide more safe, reliable and stable homes for foster kids nationwide.

Support the “Ensuring Medicaid Continuity For Children in Foster Care Act of 2021.” S2689 or HR5414 will provide funding for foster kids to stay at qualified residential treatment homes.  This is crucial in providing more safe, stable homes as well as proper care for kids suffering from mental illness, trauma, or a developmental or learning disability.

It’s a 9-1-1 situation that’s invisible to most of us. So, here’s a little light on the what’s going on!

There are more than 400,000 kids in foster care in the U-S.

60% of trafficked children are foster kids.

Florida has 22,000 foster kids. 80% of trafficked children in FL are foster kids.

Since the Family First Act passed in 2018, states are denied federal dollars if they place foster kids in cottage group homes. This has made an already crisis situation worse. Now, thousands of kids nationwide are sleeping in hotels (younger than the age of 10), offices, tents, and shipped out of their home states due to a lack of homes. This is particularly bad for kids who suffer from trauma, mental illness, or abuse due to the foster parents not wanting or equipped to deal with these issues. The answer so far, has been to leave kids in unsafe homes, or put them in rental beds (that’s when people rent their beds for $600 a night but do not feed or take the child to school). These kids are constantly moved, don’t get to attend the same school, and have no stability. This makes them highly susceptible to trafficking because no one can keep track of them.

Here’s some other illuminating facts: 71% of foster kids become pregnant by age 21, only 58% will graduate high school by age 19, only half of the 400,000 kids will be employed by age 24, 1 in 5 foster kids will become homeless, 1 in 4 foster kids will be involved with the justice system, 75% of all female foster kids will rely on government assistance to survive, and nearly half will suffer from PTSD or a serious mental illness—

How you can help!  

Please email your Congressman and Senator..urging them to support the “Ensuring Medicaid Continuity for Children in Foster Care Act of 2021”, post our social media challenge & hashtag #SeeUsNow!, follow us on social media, carry this issue to your school, work, or friends (contact us below and we’ll send you a kit) & donate!


(clicking will open a new page)

Social Media Challenge


Get to a public place and yell  “Do you See Me Now?” #safehomesforfosterkids & challenge 3 friends to help shine the light on the foster kids’ crisis by doing the same


Camouflage yourself and Challenge: Do you see me now?  #safehomesforfosterkids #SeeUsNow


Draw the heart logo on your hand and hold it out to the camera saying “Do you see me now?” #safehomesforfosterkids #SeeUsNow

Tampa Bay Magazine’s 

Women of Accomplishment

Kari Wagner

January 2022

In October 2021, See Us Now & BGold Founder, Kari Wagner was nominated by her peers as an outstanding woman for Tampa Bay Magazine’s Women of Accomplishment. Wagner was subsequently selected as a winner, and featured in the January issue of Tampa Bay Magazine, a monthly publication that represents the embodiment of the people, places and things you know and love—and the ones you have yet to discover.  The designation recognizes local women in business, philanthropy, and more who have made an impact in the Tampa Bay area. 

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