ARDMORE, Ala. – A local non-profit is making a difference for young girls in the foster care system by giving them a strong foundation and a place to call home.
The Kids to Love Foundation opened Davidson Farms in 2017, giving a place for young girls in foster care to live. Lee Marshall, Kids to Love Founder and CEO, said they serve girls in foster care between the ages of 10 and 19 so when they turn 20 years old they “age out” and have to leave.
Hundreds of thousands of kids are in foster care on any given day and when they age out of the system, many are left without stability.
The Davidson Farms Cottage Community is a new project being built for those girls aging out.
Marshall says typically when girls age out of the system, they have nowhere to turn.
“Within two years, females will be pregnant,” she said. “The incarceration rate for kids aging out is great. You have kids that don’t even finish their high school diploma, let alone have the opportunity to go on to pursue any type of college degree.”
She went on to say the statistics are grim and they are working to change that. Kids to Love broke ground on the community in September of 2020 and now, walls are going up.
“These will be the first of five cottages we will build,” said Marshall “We will eventually go all the way down this property line and have ten and then maybe more.”
Marshall said this is the first phase of a much bigger project, aiming at giving girls a brighter future by living independently while still having stability and support.
She told News 19 how this project is already helping one girl who is aging out, “One of our young ladies has been in foster care most of her life and as she turned 19 back in the Fall, she started panicking because she knew when she turned 20, she had to leave. And I told her we’re going to have the cottages and so now, she has gone from panic and worry to her whole Christmas list is what she’s going to use to fill the cottage. Her towels, her dishes.”
Marshall wishes all children in foster care could look forward to this.
“I believe that this will become a model, hopefully, that other communities serving children in foster care will come to us and say, how did you do this? How do we do this in our community?” Marshall said.
The Kids to Love Foundation has reached over 275,000 foster children, filling needs and giving hope.
Those who wish to get involved or want to help with the growth of the Cottage Community can learn more at The Kids to Love Foundation website.