Gwen Scott always knew she wanted to help people.

She didn’t necessarily expect that would include fostering more than a dozen children over the course of 14 years.

“I would take more kids right now if I could, but I’m at my capacity,” Gwen said. “I love what I do, and they play such a significant role in my life and I know I am able to play a significant role in their lives, too.”

Gwen currently has a set of four sibling sisters ages 6 through 11 and is going through the guardianship process, which would set-up a sort of co-parenting situation with the biological parents. Over the years, Gwen has experienced shortand long-term fostering, working to reunite foster children with their families, helping older teens to transition out of the foster system and even recently adopting.

Mariah Brandon, Family Recruitment & Matching Supervisor, said finding Gwen was a blessing as she came to Little City from a different agency.

“Gwen is just an amazing person and has always been there to help out in a tight squeeze or any emergency we may have,” Mariah said. “I was lucky enough to be her case manager when she first came here, and you can see how much she really cares about what she does. She is an amazing ambassador for us.”

Gwen also said coming to Little City was a turning point for her as the support she received only strengthened her love for fostering and made her the parent she is today. Before coming to Little City, she said fostering felt like more of an individual effort compared to what she has experienced here.

“Little City is full of awesome people who have supported me the whole way and have inspired me. There are just so many go-to people,” Gwen said. “People are sometimes shocked I can have four or five kids at a time, but you learn through the ups and the downs and the tough times that there is a whole team of people ready to support you. They are the reason I am the foster parent I am today. I couldn’t choose a better agency.”

Gwen’s passion has been passed down. Her daughter, who grew up around Gwen’s fostering passion, has recently become a Little City foster parent and Gwen’s contagious love for fostering has helped others take an interest in trying it for themselves.

Mariah said stories like Gwen’s are more important than ever as Little City prepares for its first full year in new locations throughout the Joliet and Matteson areas. She said people like Gwen, who are not only fantastic foster parents but eager to share their passion, will help encourage much needed families to give fostering a try.

“It’s a learning process and I’m still learning, but you just have to love what you do and – even though it’s not easy – it is very easy to love this,” Gwen said. “So many of these kids feel like they aren’t loved, so you just love them and then they feel like home.”