“They Often Come With Nothing”

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“They Often Come With Nothing”

Audrey O’Cooney
The Herald News

SOMERSET — A Somerset resident is aiming to create a closet of clothes and necessities to aid kids who enter the foster care system unexpectedly and are missing the essentials.

“When kids get placed, they often come with nothing,” said Cassie Placedo.

Placedo, a foster parent herself, just started the Greater Fall River Foster Closet. She’s looking to collect items such as clothes, baby supplies like diapers and bottles, personal care items and backpacks.

Sometimes, Placedo said, both foster children and foster parents have time to prepare for a new placement. But other times, a placement will happen on an emergency basis, sometimes late at night. A child removed from their home and placed in a foster home overnight because of a domestic disturbance might arrive in their pajamas, without having had any time to pack before leaving, she said.

“Sometimes the kids are really just coming with the clothes on their backs,” she said.

Her goal is to assemble backpacks filled with essential items for kids in different age groups that can serve as “welcome kits” for children coming into foster homes without things like soap, shampoo or clothes.

What is a foster closet?

Similar foster closets exist elsewhere in Massachusetts and across the U.S., Placedo said. The closet is not affiliated with the Department of Children and Families, which oversees the foster care system in Massachusetts.

Right now, community members who want to donate to the foster closet can bring items to Faneek’s at 269 Rhode Island Ave, Fall River.

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“Liz is really your go-to girl if you need something as far as philanthropy and volunteering,” Placedo said, referring to Faneek’s co-owner Liz Carpenter.

But ultimately, Placedo is looking to move the closet into a more permanent space. She’s looking for a local business or church that has unused storage space where she can keep the items she collects.