It’s a match made in heaven: medically fragile children in need of foster care and nurses with lots of medical expertise—and love—to give. In 2005, Linda West-Conforti, RN, a NICU nurse at Kaiser Permanente in Riverside, Calif., created Angels in Waiting, a nonprofit national organization that enables nurses to foster children who might otherwise end up in group homes without any semblance of a normal life (let alone the specialized care they need).
She’s also helped introduce a bill into the California legislature mandating preference for nurse foster parents in the placement of special needs children. If enacted, the bill actually stands to save the government money by keeping kids out of the hospital.
West-Conforti ended up adopting two of the children she fostered: Autumn and Sammy, both born prematurely to meth-addicted mothers (and both doing well now). “These kids slam-dunk your heart, and 90 percent of the nurses end up adopting the children they foster,” says West-Conforti. “I expect the percentage to drop as the program grows, but you never know—we’re nurses.”
Learn more about the program and what it takes to become an Angel here.