Many years ago we had the pleasure of getting to know a young man who impressed us so much with his intelligence and humor that we made him a regular part of our show for a time. He also had this mellifluous voice, smooth, confident, a perfect voice for radio. He sounded much older than he was at the time.

The reason for this wise beyond his years' demeanor wouldn't be revealed to me until years later when I saw a television piece focused on him. Thor Bardon had been a foster child. At that time he was about to age out of the system and was receiving guidance on moving into life as an adult.

I watched that piece in wonder, marveling at this extraordinary young man, who had faced so many struggles unknown to us and so many who knew him. Who better to present an event which aims to inform public officials, media members and private citizens about the state of the foster care system?

What is the state of that system? Statistics vary from one study and source to another but the bottom line is: the number of children in the foster care system continues to rise (for the 4th year in a row). On any given day 428,000 children in the U.S are in the foster care system. The top reason for the influx has to do with the ever-worsening opioid crisis in the U.S., and secondly, the rising incidence of parental neglect.

What will happen to many of these children is tragic. Abuse, imprisonment, addiction, mental illness and suicide are but a few of the negative outcomes possible for a number of them.

Sharing his personal experiences and perspective as part of this program, Thor Bardon is hosting "Their Only Hope: A Foster Care Informational", at the Belbas Theater in the Washington Pavilion on Saturday, October 20th, from 1 to 4 PM.

Seating is limited for this event and tickets are free, but you are asked to register. For more information, you can call 605-321-2463, or see "Their Only Hope: A Foster Care Informational" online.

Sources: KVC Health Systems, US Department of Health & Human Services Administration for Children & Families, National Institutes on Health National Library of Medicine


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