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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — More than 6,000 kids in Central Illinois are in the foster care system right now, according to Mindy McBride, a foster care recruitment and retention specialist with The Center for Youth and Family Solutions (CYFS).

CYFS is a comprehensive, not-for-profit social service agency. Our agency provides strength-based, family-centered, trauma-responsive services to youth and families in need throughout Central Illinois and Eastern Iowa.

It offers critical counseling, casework, and support services to help people struggling with trauma, grief, loss, abuse, neglect, and other significant family life challenges.

The agency provides foster care services for abused and neglected children; adoption services; crisis response for runaways and their families; delinquency prevention services for at-risk youth; residential treatment for abused and neglected boys; professional counseling for children, individuals, couples, and families; in-home counseling for seniors; mental health crisis response for youth; and community advocacy programs.

As a result, the nonprofit serves more than 20,000 people each year throughout 37 counties.

“What we’re looking for is people who are willing to provide a loving, safe, and secure home environment for a child in need,” said McBride.

CFYS received a grant through the AmeriCorps Seniors program.

“It’s focused on COVID recovery,” said Jenny Lee, the program director for community volunteerism at the nonprofit. “So the program is for recruitment of volunteers over the age of 55 or older but will take any volunteers willing to help. It’s based out of Peoria and Tazewell Counties. The volunteers are asked to either help out with the health care delivery part of it, local health departments or food pantries that may need sorting or food-collecting, food delivery, or food.”