The "Rainbow Room," with its brightly colored illustration painted over the doorway, stands out amid the offices and desks overflowing with piled-on papers found within the Department of Family and Protective Services center in Sherman. It is a place of hope with everyday items for a child in need.

The "Rainbow Room," with its brightly colored illustration painted over the doorway, stands out amid the offices and desks overflowing with piled-on papers found within the Department of Family and Protective Services center in Sherman. It is a place of hope with everyday items for a child in need.


"When a child is removed from the home by the situation that they’re in, most of the time they don’t have anything, just the clothes they’re wearing," Grayson County Child Welfare Board member Glenda Ritchie said.


This is where the Rainbow Room becomes a tool to supply children with the essential items they need after being removed from an emergency situation. The room is lined with shelves of supplies, such as clothes for girls and boys, dolls, trucks, books and diapers, all of which have been donated to Child Protective Services by the community.


Ritchie explained that when a child comes into CPS offices after being removed from his or her home, they receive an emergency kit with supplies a foster parent might need immediately.


"For example, for a baby it would have a bottle, a pacifier, baby wash, diaper rash cream, diapers and things of that nature," Ritchie said. "… If they’re a little bit older, we have a brush, a comb, and toothbrush and toothpaste. We usually have a little book and give them a little toy, we also can give them a change of clothes."


To help families take care of foster children, the state provides a base reimbursement of $23.10 a day, Sherman Foster and Home Development worker Debra Brown said. Sometimes this reimbursement doesn’t cover all the expenses taking care of a child entails, so the Grayson County Child Welfare Board works to encourage donations and supplies to go to foster families to relieve some of the burden that comes with fostering.


"We really do rely on the community to help us, and we just try to make sure that the child has as normal a situation as possible," Ritchie said.


Even when it comes to paying for supplies or fees for extracurricular activities, or even a high school class ring, the Welfare Board has been known to step in to ensure foster children have the same opportunities as every other child.


This year, the board had to cancel their major fundraiser, an Easter egg hunt for adults, due to weather concerns, Richie said. So far this year, their main fundraiser has been a specialty T-shirt designed for Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month in April.


"For a $15 donation, we have these blue T-shirts, … and we wear blue to signify the bruises … but we encourage folks to wear these shirts on Fridays," Ritchie said.


These donations to the board become especially important, Ritchie said, when birthdays and holidays come up. The board will usually send a gift to the child, in addition to whatever a foster family may end up doing to celebrate. During Christmas, many are familiar with the Salvation Army Angel Tree, but what some might not realize is there’s a special tree for foster children as well. It’s all about providing extra aid to relieve any burden that may come with caring for a child, Ritchie said.


To find out how to make a donation to the Grayson County Child Welfare Board or to purchase a Heroes For Kids shirt, contact Amy Ball at 903-870-5406 or stop by the Department of Family and Protective Services offices in Sherman at 902 Cottonwood Drive.