BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — To most people, a suitcase is a symbol of travel, usually to a better place. But for children in foster care, a suitcase could mean much more.
Often children going into foster care are removed from their home quickly, leaving a short amount of time for them to pack their belongings. Those few things, are often packed in trash bags.
Tiffany Everette is a foster mom who has seen the effect carrying around a trash bag can have on the children she fosters.
“They felt like their items were trash or that they were trash,” Everette said.
Usually what is in that trash bag are the most valuable things to the child. Zeke Davis is the regional director for Necco, a foster care agency.
“It means everything to them. It’s the connection they have back to their home,” Davis said.
There is also a stigma that comes with a child carrying a black trash bag over the shoulder. What they are going through is usually traumatic enough, but now they are seen carrying that bag, making everyone aware they are a child in foster care.
“We know that children carrying things in a trash bag, they usually are from foster care. And that impression, too, automatically makes them seen as foster children, opposed to regular children,” Everette said.
The foster agency NECCO aims to send all of their children in foster care, to their new temporary home with a duffel bag or suitcase.
“While it is a terrible situation, it may not be the worst situation they can have because if we do have a duffel bag or a suitcase, it can just bring a little bit of joy, knowing its not that bad,” Davis said.
Giving them the opportunity to pack for a brighter future.