Comfort Cases: Bringing Dignity & Hope to Youth in Foster Care
Often when a child is removed from their home and enters the foster care system, they are left to carry and transport their belongings in a trash bag. Comfort Cases, Inc. was founded in 2013 with the vision to eliminate this indignity from our foster care system and to ensure no child is made to feel like they and their belongings are trash. Rob Scheer, founder of Comfort Cases,. Inc., experienced the foster care system years ago in his youth and he, too, carried his possessions in a trash bag. Rob and his husband Reece would go on to have four children all of whom they adopted from the foster care system. When their children arrived at their house, each one of them came to the door with their belongings in a trash bag. It was then that Rob vowed to do something about this indignity and thus Comfort Cases, Inc. was born.
Comfort Cases' mission is to inspire communities to bring dignity and hope to youth in foster care. The organization, based in Rockville, Maryland, works to achieve its mission by providing youth entering the foster care system with a Comfort Case and a Comfort XL. Since 2013, Comfort Cases, Inc. has distributed over 40,000 cases to youth in foster care in 39 states plus DC and Puerto Rico.
A Comfort Case is a backpack or small duffel bag that provides comfort, hope and love to youth entering foster care. The case provides them with both essential and comfort items to ease their transition into a new environment. Items in a Comfort Case include pajamas, stuffed animal, book, coloring book with crayons or a journal with pens/pencils, a blanket, a toiletry kit (shampoo, conditioner, lotion, soap/body wash, and deodorant (Ages 10+)), and a dental kit (toothpaste and toothbrush). In order to convey a message in youth in care that they are loved and valued, each Comfort Case is assembled with care and includes only brand new items. Comfort Cases come in nearly 50 possible gender and size (Newborn-3XL) combinations with each intended to be individual and unique, like each child who enters foster care.
A Comfort XL is a large capacity duffel bag that provides dignity to youth entering foster care by eliminating the need to place their belongings in a trash bag. Comfort XL's are approximately 32" bags that are collapsible and compact. Their size enables the person responsible for removing a child from a home to be able to keep these on hand in an accessible location - whether it is the trunk of their vehicle or a dedicated spot at their office. The key is for workers to reach for a Comfort XL as opposed to a trash bag. This seemingly simple intervention has a powerful impact on a child and brings that child a sense of dignity and hope during an uncertain and traumatic time.
Thanks to the incredible generosity of donors and supporters, Comfort Cases, Inc. is able to provide agencies and organizations working with youth entering foster care with both Comfort Cases and Comfort XL's at no cost to them. Comfort Cases are intended for agencies and organizations that will have the first interaction with a youth in care. This touch point allows the worker to select the appropriate case (gender and size) to bring to a youth. Comfort XL's are intended for agencies and organizations that are physically removing a child from a home. This touch point is when the Comfort XL is most critical to eliminating the trash bag from the foster care system. In many instances, these agencies and organizations are one in the same - and therefore, they can request both Comfort Cases and Comfort XLs.
Agency and organization staff working with youth entering foster care are welcome to reach out to Comfort Cases, Inc. to request Comfort Cases and/or Comfort XLs either by phone or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about how you can support Comfort Cases, Inc. and impact the lives of youth in foster care by going to www.comfortcases.org.
Tony Bonetti, Executive Director of Comfort Cases, has been a social activist and non-profit leader for more than 15 years, serving mission-driven organizations such as Rainbow Families and the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness. Tony holds a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Connecticut and Bachelor’s degrees in Sociology and Public Policy from Eastern Connecticut State University. Tony lives in Kensington, Maryland, with his husband, Matthew, and their daughter, Audrey.