Lee Marshall, the founder of Kids to Love, a non-profit serving children in foster care, sent a letter to Gov. Kay Ivey and gave supporters three calls of action.

Kids to Love filed a civil lawsuit against the Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR) director Nancy Buckner and others, claiming DHR has frozen placements of foster children with them.

"Leadership at State DHR feels threatened by the level of service Kids to Love provides instead of viewing Kids to Love as a partner agency," Marshall said in the letter to Ivey. "State DHR staff have made claims against Kids to Love that are not based on policy or minimum standards. No claim made by State DHR was related to the quality of care children receive from Kids to Love programs. In an attempt to satisfy State DHR, Kids to Love immediately complied with every superficial request for change in practice. State DHR replied to our good faith efforts by continuing retaliation against our agency by suspending referrals to our programs. After the suspension was put in place, Kids to Love was audited by staff at State DHR which resulted in ZERO deficiencies for Kid to Love. Kids to Love programs were in total compliance with all policy and minimum standards."

DHR needs homes for children, and Marshall said Kids to Love can help.

Along with the letter, Marshall asked supporters to sign a petition, call the governor's office and lawmakers and share a Facebook video.

"We can start a movement to be a voice for these children in foster care," Marshall said in the video. "Governor Ivey, our houses are in order, so for the sake of children and the Alabama foster care system and those that Kids to Love is committed to serving every single day, open our homes."

The governor's office has not yet responded to an 1819 News request on this letter but did respond to another open letter sent by DHR employees and former employees concerning Buckner and DHR leadership.

"To my knowledge, our Office has not received this letter, and therefore, there is no way to verify it," Ivey communications director Gina Maiola said. "However, Commissioner Nancy Buckner, who has dedicated much of her career to DHR, as well as the team at the department do critical and lifesaving work. Governor Ivey commends them for their service."

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email erica.thomas@1819news.com.

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