Dubuque Man to Walk Across Iowa to Raise Awareness of Foster Care Shortage

By Katie Wiedemann, KCRG TV-9

DUBUQUE, Iowa - On Saturday May 3rd, a Dubuque man will walk across the state, sharing alarming information about the number of children in Iowa who are desperate for a foster family.

Chris Barnett will walk from Dubuque to Davenport, then head west to Council Bluffs. Then he’ll turn around and walk all the way back to Dubuque. As a former foster child himself, Barnett says he has his foster parents to thank for literally saving his life.

As he’s getting ready to take millions of steps in the next month, Barnett is looking back on the steps he took in his life that helped him get where he is today.

“I don’t believe I would have finished college. Actually, I’d probably be dead,” Barnett said. “One of my parents did attempt to commit homicide on me. So, I am not so sure I’d be alive. “

Barnett says after that terrifying ordeal with his biological parents, he moved in with a foster family. For him, that move was a life-changing opportunity. He wants all kids who need a home to have one.

“We need homes that provide that safe and temporary environment, “ said Barnett.

In his role with the Iowa Kids Net, Barnett helps foster parents get a license and connects them with children in need.

“I’ll get a phone call asking us which home can we place this child in,” said Barnett. “And too often I have to say ‘sorry we don’t have a home here in Dubuque.’ “

Barnett says one big reason for the shortage is because many foster parents end up adopting. Often, that means they no longer have room for more foster kids. He says that’s a good problem, but a problem none the less. A problem he hopes to fix with every step. He’s planned out his route and you can find it online with Barnett’s Walk Across Iowa.

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