Note: This story appears in the Tuesday, Aug. 27 newspaper on Page A3.
NEW LEXINGTON — Children in the foster system sometimes do not have personal items for themselves and are sometimes put in abusive or neglectful situations. Nadine Cain looks to fill a void for children in foster care by starting her own charitable organization — Nadine’s Promise.
“It’s actually been something that I have been trying to figure out how to help the foster kids out for quite a long time now,” Cain said.
Cain is no stranger to the foster care system and what some children go through. She was introduced to the foster care system at the age of four years old. By the time she was 18, she had lived in 37 foster homes and two group homes. During the same time, she moved schools constantly, attending 16 schools while in foster care.
“It wasn’t because I was a bad kid, it was because there was no other foster homes to put me in — they had no other availabilities,” Cain said.
After Cain grew too old for the foster system, she was on her own. Cain decided to join the United States Marine Corps as an air traffic control operator, which was a result of her high score on her Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test. In 1994, she was shipped out and it was also her last day in the foster care system in Pennsylvania.
Cain now works as a court-appointed special advocate (CASA), assisting children who are in the foster care system. She is also a guardian ad litem (GAL) for children and does investigations into children’s living circumstances if they are in an abusive or neglectful situation. Recommendations are then made about where a child should be placed — either with a family member or in foster care.
“Kind of in a nutshell, I’m the children’s voice in court,” Cain said. “I send the recommendations to the judge. I look and see what is going on with the cases, and I try to advocate for the child the best I can.”
With her extended history of being in the foster care system and working with foster children, Cain noticed that more support must be done for children in Perry County.
“I know all too well what it’s like to be a foster child,” Cain said. “I remember every foster home.”
She went on to describe her living situation which she stated is similar to what children go through today. Growing up in the foster system, she had to buy her own personal care items, and the only tool to help her move her clothes and other belongings was a trash bags prior to entering high school.
She stated that she once had a stuffed teddy bear and a blanket that was given to her by her biological uncle. However, when she was 17 years old, she moved to a different location and left behind those cherished possessions, which were subsequently thrown away.
Her need to do something for children prompted her to create the charitable organization called Nadine’s Promise.
One of her hobbies is sewing blankets, which Cain intends will be a part of the charity.
“It’s those comfort items that these kids don’t have,” Cain stated. “That’s another very important thing that they have something that’s theirs.”
Cain is currently accepting items for her charitable organization for anyone interested. She is also in the process of finding a building location where she plans on locating her charitable organization.
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Aleksei Pavloff is a reporter for The Perry County Tribune.