La Crosse officials help foster parents make scrap books

La Crosse officials help foster parents make scrap books

LA CROSSE, Wis, (WKBT) -- - La Crosse County foster care officials are focusing on helping children who have moved from family to family by helping parents make scrap books as a way to preserve childhood memories.

Foster care director Lila Barlow of La Crosse County said childhood memories in foster care are often lost because some parents may not have the time to save their child's history. 

"They have either lost those things, or parents haven't been able to keep up with that," Barlow said.  

Barlow said some foster children's memories can be foggy when there's nothing they can look back on. 

"Kids with trauma really have a hard time filling in the gaps," Barlow said. "So maybe when they are 13 and looking back (they might ask), 'Did I have a four year old birthday party?' They can't remember." 

La Crosse county officials offered a new scrap booking workshop to help preserve a physical memory. 

"Kids can hold it and touch it and be able to pass that along," Barlow said. 

Abby Pardee is a foster parent who has a child with special needs.   She says she comes alive when she has photos to look at. 

"I feel like pictures tell a lot of her story and she loves to look at pictures of herself," Pardee said.  

Barlow says it provides peace of mind.

"It's just a relief," Barlow said. "It's something where they can say they did have some normalcy." 

There are about 7,000 kids in foster care in Wisconsin. Local state Rep.Steve Doyle says drug addiction is a big part of the problem.

"About 80 percent of them come from homes where drugs are either the issue or a significant issue, and some of these kids even as young as infants have addiction issues themselves," Doyle said.  

Pardee said foster care provides a security blanket so the family and the child can heal. 

"Foster care has been the biggest blessing to her and she has had the opportunities to do things she never would have had the chance to, especially as a special needs child," Pardee said. "Just preserving these beautiful memories and happy things that have happened to her I think will be awesome." 

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