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FOSTER PARENTS TO 75 LOST CHILDREN HAVE LOTS OF STORIES, AN RV AND A MISSION

By Judy Castelli            

DAN AND JO ANN WENTZEL, now in their 70’s and traveling across the country in a 24’ RV, ARE ON A MISSION. They are determined to try to help more kids and repair more families. They intend to get the word out about widespread child abuse. They share what worked for them fostering kids who could not trust, feel love or love. They encourage folks along the way with big hearts to foster children who would otherwise be lost.

In the beginning, they were ignored by the “experts” in childcare because they did not have advanced degrees.  However, their successes with their foster kids proved they WERE the experts.

The Wentzels asked if they could run a group home for boys.

They answer “No. You don’t have certification.” Weeks later, Social Services asked them to take in eight older boys.

Dan said, “No. We don’t have certification!” 

“You do now,” they said. You broke new ground in the county, and we now have funding for you. “

What was the most frustrating thing about fostering these children?

 “They didn’t give us the files- they didn’t tell us the bad stuff, the things that were real problems.”

Why?

“They were afraid we wouldn’t take them.” 

“We talk to people who think they want to do this work. We tell them that they will not get all the information they need about the kids- it is just how it is. They have the right to know and should fight for pertinent information”

They were not told for example that a young man they placed in their house had a history of molesting younger kids. 

 “We had a house full of kids who were victims of sexual abuse. We found the molester behind a closed bedroom door with one of the other kids-about to take advantage of him. “How could they NOT tell us his history?”

Two tiny children so neglected and abused who trusted no one and were unloved and could not respond with affection. The two - year - old girl did not even know her own name. The pair knew nothing about safety- would touch a hot stove or would run headlong into a parked vehicle.

One of their kids was picked up for stealing a car.

Dan asked the boy, “What the heck are you doing? You gotta stop this.”

 “I just like cars,” he explained. “He stole about 25 cars- he was good at it," Dan explains, “But he didn’t do anything else bad- he was a good kid.”

The Judge asked what they should do with the young man. Jo Ann suggested, “Well, I think he should probably serve some time- he’s not learning anything.”

The Wentzels often had eight teen boys living in their home at a time, many who were about to age out of the system. At that point, they would be on their own with no place to go, no support, no way to make a living and no services. That was the beginning of Life Ready. A program the Wentzels started to get these kids in apartments, get the young people services, jobs and teach life skills.

Dan and Jo Ann knew that their “problem kids” had problem families. They developed programs and worked with families to try to get these kids back into their original family and out of foster care.  Soon they formed mentoring business: Parenting Consulting Services where they taught parenting.

Police protection in their driveway for weeks? The courts about to terminate the parents’ rights! Two little children who had been severely neglected and sexually abused were about to be taken away from their parents. Their father tried to break into their home. The grandfather of these kids had an arsenal in his house and threatened them.

Dan's new motorcycle destroyed when a kid takes it for a joy ride…

Jo Ann testifying in court as a Guardian-ad-Litem, acting in the best interest of the child...

They have many stories- you will laugh and maybe cry. You will wonder how they did it. How they managed to keep their keep their sense of humor, and their sanity. They are on the road in their unreliable RV, doing the work God meant them to do.

 

 Jo Ann is the Author of...

 

 Books: Non-Fiction:

                    It Begins and Ends with Family

                    A Collection of Jo Ann’s Thoughts

 Fiction:        Ultimate Betrayal

                     Ultimate Obliteration

 Website:       Author Jo Ann Wentzel-www.authorjoannwentzel.com

 E-mail:           wentzeljoann68@gmail.com

 Facebook      https://www.facebook.com/lilolladystuff

 Twitter           https://twitter.com/WentzelJo