There’s nothing new about the turmoil facing Rhode Island’s foster care system. The department faces pressure to improve oversight in the wake of the death of a 9-year-old foster child last summer. It’s being asked to do more with less. Caseloads are still higher than anyone would like them to be. The reasons kids are removed from their homes--drugs, physical and emotional abuse, etc--they’re not new either.

But the individual stories of the people around which the foster care system is built are stories of hope and heartbreak that we hope will give you fresh insights into a problem that goes back for centuries. Mary’s story today, for example--the story of a 59-year-old woman who in an instant became a foster mother of 4, just when she was planning to retire. Or Amelia’s story, an audio diary of her most intimate feelings about that moment when she’s about to age out of the system alone. Over the next few weeks, we’ll report the stories of Rhode Island’s foster families who aren’t waiting for the DCYF to get the system right. And there’s no “news” about their stories. But they are revealing.

The Public's Radio is launching a new series called Living in Limbo: Foster Families and Their Stories. We’d love your feedback. And if you’re part of a foster family, or if you work in child welfare, we’d love to hear your stories.