W.Va. foster family that gained national attention meets with state delegation

CHARLESTON, W,Va. (WSAZ) -- Monica and Robert Kinder are very busy with seven children in their house, all coming through the foster care system.

Monica and Robert Kinder meet with Delegate Jason Barrett, D-Berkeley, to talk about legislation to help foster families in West Virginia.

"Everybody gets aggravated in life,and we all have our ups and downs, but at the end of the day, I just have to sit and cry and thank God they were placed with us," said Monica Kinder. "We don't always know the reasoning. We always say things happen for a reason and now this is our reason."

Over the last few weeks, this family has become the face of the foster care crisis in West Virginia. Click here to see previous coverage.

"That was the objective to get attention to these kids that need homes because we don't have enough room," said Robert Kinder. "We can't take them all, but hopefully someone else will step up and help these other kids that need help."

Through the years, these parents have taken in more than 20 children with no place to call home. The 'Today' show on NBC profiled the family, sharing some of the challenges they face on a daily basis including financial troubles.

"Until you put faces and names to situations, it's different and it's very eye-opening," said Delegate Jason Barrett, D-Berkeley.

On Monday, the Kinders met with lawmakers at the state Capitol to share some of those struggles.

Delegate Barrett introduced the parents on the House floor as "the foster family that has touched all of our hearts."

Delegate Barrett is working on bipartisan legislation to help ease some of the burdens of being a foster family. He says House Bill 4092 works to update the state's foster care bill of rights for both families and children and increase the daily reimbursement for families, among other changes.

"These are West Virginia children," Barrett said. "It's the state's responsibility at this point. We have families stepping up but they have to have the resources and means to be able to do that and this bill addresses that."

"My heart is just overwhelmed, and I am thankful that somebody is hearing us," Kinder said. "I am thankful they are listening and are aware that something has to be done."

During Delegate Barrett's meeting with the family and members of Necco, they all talked about some of the hurdles foster families face and case workers face.

Since the family's story aired, an outpouring of support has come in. Monica Kinder says she now plans to take all of the comments and make a board to hang in her children's room.

"So that we can remind the kids this is why we did this," Kinder said.

As far as the bill, it is in committee. WSAZ will share any updates as the bill progresses through the legislature.

Several foster agencies across West Virginia say the Kinders' story sparked a lot of interest from other families interested in possibly becoming foster parents.

For more information about foster care services in West Virginia, you can contact any of the following organizations:

  • Necco

  • Mission West Virginia

  • Children's Home Society of West Virginia

  • KVC West Virginia

  • West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources