Imagine the trust of 400 young souls, their futures hanging in the balance, each looking for a guiding hand in the sprawling labyrinth of the foster system. Now, imagine entrusting all those futures to one woman and a single smartphone app.
Tucked away is a small, understated white desk that echoes a bygone era. Pencils, a sharpener, notebooks, and a chunky white binder brimming with paperwork claim their space. But what truly commands attention is the wall. A vivid tapestry of finger paintings springs to life in Sherie Keegan’s corner workspace, the imprints of 400 foster children symbolizing hope in the face of adversity. This tableau stands as a testament to an extraordinary foster guardian’s 8-year odyssey, guiding over 400 children with scarce resources. Conspicuously absent from her modest corner is a computer. Even though there’s one elsewhere in her office, Sherie doesn’t need it. Sherie’s mainstay, her anchor, is a seemingly modest smartphone app: CamScanner.
The U.S. foster care system provides a sanctuary for children facing threats or neglect at home. Such circumstances may arise from issues like parental drug abuse. Children are placed with foster families for durations that can vary widely; Sherie once cared for a child for over two years. These children remain in foster care until their biological families are deemed safe again or alternative permanent arrangements, such as adoption, are made.
Unfortunately for those children who so desperately need sanctuary and support, the US foster care system faces a pressing crisis. Recent statistics paint a grim picture, with a severe shortage of foster homes in over half of all states. In some locales, the decline reached a staggering 61%. A significant reason behind this downturn is the high attrition rate of new foster parents, many of whom exit the system within their inaugural year. This rapid turnover speaks volumes about the challenges and pressures they face. Further compounding these issues is the chronic underfunding that plagues child welfare programs. The limited financial resources not only strain foster care systems but also potentially jeopardize the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of the foster children within them.
“I am a person who relies on habits,” Sherie reflects. “If I am familiar with a method, I will always use it.” It was the pressing urgency of incoming children and that search for a simplified workflow that led her to CamScanner 7 years ago. “CS is my knowledge base… I feel safe storing them in CS,” she states, signifying her confidence in the app amidst the whirlwind of her duties.
CamScanner, in Sherie’s hands, becomes an indispensable organizational tool. With it, she manages records ranging from transfer applications to health certificates. Sherie reveals the often chaotic backdrop of her workflow: “Often when I receive documents, it is when the children are about to arrive. I need to do a lot of preparatory work, such as preparing beds and clothes for them, familiarizing myself with their information and personalities, and ensuring that they are comfortable after arrival.” For Sherie, the app isn’t just about convenience; it’s about ensuring she can focus on what truly matters: preparing for and nurturing her children. For Sherie, the seamless organization that CamScanner offers has also fostered clear lines of communication with caseworkers, ensuring that all protocols are met promptly.
Sherie’s unwavering commitment to her foster children drives her to utilize every resource available. Frugal out of necessity, Sherie often finds herself at the local library to save on the steep costs of toner from using her own office printer. Her adaptive strategies, whether it’s her familiarity with CamScanner or her trips to the library, emphasize her drive to ensure the well-being of her children within her means.
Sherie Keegan’s journey epitomizes the grassroots spirit and inherent resourcefulness of many in this nation. In a landscape dominated by red tape and scarce resources, Sherie’s tale illuminates how determination, paired with the right tools, can make a profound difference. Sherie is candid about her priorities, noting, ‘I prefer to spend all my time with my children. You need to pay close attention to them. They may have emotional problems and need your company. So for other things, I don’t think it’s worth it.’ Despite the constant challenges that come with foster guardianship, Sherie’s resourcefulness and dedication to what matters most rings true through her words. And, much like the vibrant tapestry of finger paintings in her workspace, each colorful imprint serves as a testament to the positive mark she’s left on those children’s lives.