10-27-2009, 03:04 PM #1
Organization reunites foster kids with long-lost family members
The foster child thought she had nobody left to love her. She was wrong.
ST. LOUIS — The search begins inside a sparse office in a corner of the St. Louis family court.
Carlos Lopez, a 6-foot private investigator with a disarming smile, and his partner Sheila Suderwalla sit at a computer side by side, scouring court records, police files, motor vehicle records, occupancy permits and mug shots — any clue that would lead them to a woman named Karen.
Karen is not a wanted criminal. And the partners are not looking to solve a crime.
Suderwalla, a petite social worker with a driven passion for the underdog, and Lopez are on the trail of something far more elusive: a lost relative with a heart big enough and bloodlines strong enough to change the life of a 15-year-old foster child.
In as much as 70 percent of cases, Extreme Recruitment has permanently reunited foster children with relatives. In almost all other cases, the program has at least helped children reconnect with family.
It happened for Dereck, 17.
When Lopez and Suderwalla got his file, he had lived in 16 places. He was weeks away from graduating from high school with just a caseworker to attend the ceremony. The partners found a great-aunt in Indiana who began calling relatives in St. Louis. By Dereck's graduation he had eight family members in the audience.
"I was able to tell him, I want you to know you have some stand-up people in your family," Suderwalla said.
full story here
10-28-2009, 03:47 PM #2
Defender of the defenseless
11-08-2009, 06:15 PM #3Former Member
- Join Date
- Feb 2007
Thanks Texas Mist for this story. Very encouraging and I hope the program continues to grow.
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