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With the State seeing the highest rate of children entering into the foster care system, sometimes an immediate placement with extended family cannot occur because of the inability of the caretaker to be able to summon the resources necessary to purchase specific items, sometimes with only 36 hours notice.

According to local non profit Fostering Sweet Dreams director Kristy Payne, sometimes caretaker’s who are related to the children in need of immediate placement are required to immediately have items in place such as car seats, highchairs, beds & bedding and more directly in place before State approval of kinship placement.

As a foster mom herself, Kristy Payne understands that all families, who otherwise qualify for immediate kinship child placement, and other non-traditional foster-care placements, do not always have the immediate resources in place to purchase these items instantly, and so Fostering Sweet Dreams was born out of this need.

Here is my conversation with Kristy Payne, who was on her way to surprise and help the pictured single mom residing in Downtown Edmond with beds for her and her children.

If you’d like more information about donations that go direct to families, or research other ways you can provide assistance, please visit online at Facebook or Instagram at @Fosteringsweetdreams, or visit the website at www.Fosteringsweetdreams.com

EA: When did you create Fostering Sweet Dreams?
Kristy Payne: We started in March 2016.

EA: What caused you to start the foundation up?
Kristy Payne: We had started fostering about 13 years ago after we had already had a biological son and daughter, and to which that process took about six months. After we adopted our son, we adopted our daughter who is now nine, my husband felt we were done, with two daughters and two sons, and could not adopt or foster any more kids. Nevertheless, once it is in your heart, you cannot just walk away, and I feel this is my passion and my calling.
I had helped other non-profits out and saw how other non-profits operated, and have helped Citizen’s for Children, Foster Wishes, Casa and other organizations. For me, this niche in Foster care help only made sense, as kinship placement could occur within 24 hours, and these families couldn’t just go out and acquire a bed and bedroom set, car seat or other items which to some is super easy to acquire, but it is not so easy for so many out there to just go out and spend $500 to $600, and where I had the luxury of shopping by any means possible including amazing garage sales and more over a six month period.

EA: What are the qualifications that DHS requires for immediate kinship placement?
Kristy Payne: Kinship placement can be approved in as little as 24 hours, by doing a quick background check, but you have to have the bed, the dresser, the car seat in place for the child to be placed in your home. There is currently no State help with these expenditures, and if the home is a good home but making it paycheck to paycheck, this is a huge gap, and the reimbursement for these items takes as long as six to twelve months until they have completed the program to be reimbursed for these tangible items.

EA: Do you serve only kinship placements?
Kristy Payne: We started with kinship placements, but after four years, we are now working with child reunification placements, where children are being reintroduced into the family and are visiting for weekend visits, but the parents must have the bed in place, and removal prevention to help parents who are seeking help to not have their children removed. It is really rewarding because these parents are working really hard to keep their kids in place or to get their kids back.

EA: Does Fostering Sweet Dreams offer families more than just beds?
Kristy Payne: We do! Our primary item to offer families is the bed, dressers when we get them in, car seats, bouncy seats, high chairs, things like this.

EA: What happens if the donated items aren’t provided to families?
Kristy Payne: This happens sometimes, so there is another Edmond non-profit named All Things Baby that we donate excess items we may have in stock.

EA: Are donors able to deduct any giving to Fostering Sweet Dreams?
Kristy Payne: Absolutely! We are a 501(c)(3) and provide receipts with our EIN number necessary to claim as a tax deduction with the IRS.

EA: Are you located on Edmond Rd?
Kristy Payne: Yes! We are located for drop off donations just west of Broadway in Downtown Edmond at 529 West Edmond Rd (2nd Street) and we are hoping to move to a larger location soon!