As the leader of KPMG’s Federal Audit Business Unit, Andrew Lewis knows the importance of building a network of strong connections. An ardent advocate of foster care—and a foster parent himself—Andrew recognized a need to create a network of strong connections for foster and adoptive parents at the firm.
“There are so many children in this country and around the world who need care, and over the past year, COVID has forced many of them out of schools and back into unsafe or neglectful homes,” explains Andrew. “All children need love, safety and stability, and they deserve the best of us.”
This month, Andrew launched KPMG’s Foster Care and Adoptive Parent Network, with the sponsorship of the Women’s Advisory Board and KPMG’s Network of Women. When Andrew set out to start this network, it was with families like Amy Matsuo’s and Ashley Semadeni’s in mind.
Amy, a principal and National Lead for the ESG & Regulatory Insights practice, and Ashley, an Advisory senior associate in Federal Transformation Delivery, have expanded their families by becoming foster parents. And like Andrew, they’re excited to share their experiences and connect with other foster and adoptive parents at the firm.
Amy’s support of children in need began with granting wishes through One Simple Wish, and she eventually joined the organization’s national board, serving for more than four years. In addition to expanding awareness of the needs of children in foster care, Amy helped coordinate local drives in the Raleigh office.
Earlier this year, Amy and her husband became certified foster parents, and they’re currently providing respite care primarily to teens of foster families who need temporary care. “I was asked recently why we wanted to be foster parents,” says Amy. “My response was simple—because we can. So why would you want to help a child in foster care, or become a foster parent yourself? Because you can.”
It was the sheer number of children in foster care that prompted Ashley to become a foster parent two years ago. “According to the most recent federal data, there are currently more than 400,000 children in foster care in the United States, and about 5,500 of those children are in Virginia, where I live.”
The magnitude of the issue inspired Ashley to do something to help, so she decided to become a certified therapeutic foster-to-adopt parent. “Therapeutic foster care specializes in finding homes for high-risk children who may have special emotional, behavioral or medical needs that make it challenging to find them a home. I was matched with a 12-year-old boy who was placed with me for a little over a year, and my partner and I recently began the process to adopt him.”
In addition to providing Paid Parental Time Off for individuals adopting a child, KPMG offers the same benefit to those providing foster care. Along with becoming a foster or adoptive parent, the firm offers a variety of resources to support children in need.
“Foster and adoptive parents face unique challenges, including navigating birth parent relationships, limited health information issues, building a trans-racial household, and working through legal hurdles,” said Andrew. “There are so many children in need. Your home might be a good place for them.”