Dec 20, 2017

St. Louis area couple makes donation to help foster children
Jim and Cathy Berges. Credit: KMOV

A huge donation by a local couple will mean more foster children in the St. Louis area have the services and support they need.

In a ceremony at the St. Louis County Family Court Wednesday, there were many thank yous to Jim and Cathy Berges. The Berges Family Foundation gave a $620,000 grant to the St. Louis County office of an organization named Voices of Children.

“We’ve been blessed with riches beyond our ability to sue them,” said Jim Berges.

Voices of Children provides the special court-appointment advocates, known as CASA, for children removed from their homes and put in foster care because of abuse and neglect.

“We are that child’s voice in the court and also in the community,” said Steve Moergen with Voices of Children.

The advocates make sure the children get the services and support they need to have a strong voice in the Family Court’s decision about their lives.

“But CASA I see as directly supportive of the child and the child’s needs,” said Judge Thea Sherry with the St. Louis County Family Court.

Because of limited funding, there aren’t enough advocates for all foster children. The grant means more children will be helped.

“Almost immediately begin advocating for between 60 and 70 additional children,” said Moergen.

Berges is the former president of Emerson Electric. He amassed a giant fortune later at a private equity firm. He said he is now having fun giving away much of it to help the St. Louis community.

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