November 2011

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A Product of Foster Care, and One of Its Best Advocates

Keema Davis said her foster mother inspired her to make a career in helping kids in need.


A day before her 10th birthday, Keema Davis was placed in foster care. At the age of 14, along with her two sisters and one brother, she found a new loving mother who to this day she still calls “mom.” It was this woman who gave her a warm home after a troubled start in life who inspired Davis to do something positive with her career. Today, Davis, an SSEU Local 371 member, works as the coordinator for Wednesday’s Child, a segment on Channel 4 that features children in need of foster parents. “Even when I went through a rough patch, she always believed in me,” Davis said about her foster mother. “She really helped me out. She instilled a desire in me to help others like she did for me. It was apromise fulfilled doing this work.”

A Weekly Effort

Wednesdays Child, sponsored by the Freddie Mac Foundation, has been airing in New York City since 1999. Davis, who was working on her Master’s degree in communications at the New York Institute of Technology, was approached by Channel 4 after the segment’s coordinator saw her speaking about her childhood in foster care.

Each week, Davis works from the Administration for Children’s Services’150 William Street headquarters and each week teams up with the contracted agencies to find children in need of a home.

After setting up an opportunity for the TV crew to film the child or sibling group, the clip airs and Davis fields calls from parents who want to be foster parents and she walks them through that process.“It has been a rollercoaster,” she said of her tenure. “I feel like I want to take all the kids home with me.”Davis thinks it is a successful program: Of the 600 children the segment has featured under her watch, about half of them have been introduced, matched or settled in foster families. Davis hoped more SSEU Local 371 members would consider becoming foster parents, or if they could not do so themselves, reach out to friends and family members who could adopt children. “You don’t have to be rich to be a fosterparent,” she said. “We want caring people. We need good homes.” Davis isn’t a foster parent herself. When asked why not, she laughed, “My apartment’s too small.”

Social Service Employees Union Local 371
817 Broadway, New York, NY 10003