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Child Abuse Prevention Walk

Kathi and Roy Stephens lace up their shoes and join dozens of people at the Neosho Fish Hatchery to represent the hundreds of foster children they have welcomed into their home.
NEOSHO, MO.--- Kathi and Roy Stephens have very big hearts. Since 1987, they have fostered literally hundreds of foster children.

"550 children, that's an estimate, probably more," said Kathi Stephens, Foster Parent.

They remember the moment when they decided to open up their home years ago. It started with a parade in Joplin.

"A little girl on the back of a truck, she had a sign saying, 'We need foster parents just like you.' My daughter cried for 6 months because she thought they didn't have any parents," said Stephens.

The couple joined dozens of people at the Neosho Fish Hatchery. A "Child Abuse Prevention Walk" was held and people walked around the facility to show their support for the children.

"A lot of wonderful people probably are here to show they care. That's what it's all about, protecting our babies and kids. Making sure they have a safe environment," said David Hendrix, Neosho Fish Hatchery.

The event was sponsored by the Newton and McDonald County social services group. They set balloons into the air to show their commitment to the kids. The Stephens say anyone can be foster parents.

"There's a lot of people with a big heart. They just need to open it up and become a foster parent," said Stephens.

One of the keys to being a foster parent is to treat your foster kids like just another member of the family.

"You're not their biological parents. At this time, you're all they have right now, so lets work together and make it work," said Stephens.

If you would like to learn more about becoming a foster parent, you can call 417-455-5142.
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