Central Iowa Summer Camp Offers Hope to Abused Foster Care Children

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  As summer approaches, camps like the Royal Family Kids' Camp are getting ready with an intentional focus in mind.

“There are great foster care parents. There are great adoptive parents, and it’s unfortunate there some negative ones out there,” says Jamel Crawford.

The camp is specifically for kids who have been abused while in foster care. Crawford, a local pastor and camp leader, hosts two summer camps in central Iowa that can serve up to 90 kids. There are 6,000 kids in foster care across the state.

For safety purposes, the campsites are are at non-disclosed locations. Most families hear about the camp by word-of-mouth, but Crawford said he does receive some referrals from the Department of Human Services.

The death of Perry teenager Sabrina Ray has prompted the Royal Family Kids' Camp to consider joining forces with the department. Ray was found dead in her adoptive parents' home earlier this month. Investigators say she died from starvation and weighed only 56 pounds.

“If anything, it calls for us to step up and come alongside the Department of Human Services. How can we serve? How can we encourage the workers that work with those families? How can we work with those families who do foster care?”

The nonprofit organization is in need of more volunteers, counselors, and monetary donations. Its hope is to offer more summer camps for the growing number of children in the foster care system. For more information about the Royal Family Kids Camp, click here.