By Sarah B Lange under Philanthropy Stories on October 18, 2021


Right now, there are 437,500 children in the US foster care system.

Each year, 23,000 young people age out of foster care without permanent connections to a stable family.

Most children in the foster care system are removed from their homes with little more than the clothes on their backs. If they do have any personal belongings, they are given a trash bag in which to carry them. These children have already suffered from neglect and/or abuse, and often feel like they don’t matter. The trash bag they’re given only serves to reinforce that.  

When he was 12, Rob Scheer — the Founder of Comfort Cases — entered into foster care after losing both parents. His belongings arrived in a trash bag. When he aged out of the system at 18, he became homeless, and again packed up his belongings in a trash bag.

Fast forward to his adoption of 5 children from the foster care system — who arrived on his doorstep with their belongings in trash bags! Rob remembered feeling disposable as a child carrying a trash bag to his foster home, and he wondered how this could still be happening so many years later. 

That’s when Rob decided to act! 

In 2013, the Scheer family founded Comfort Cases and set out on a mission to eliminate the use of trash bags in the foster care system and provide children entering the system with brand new essential and comfort items. A Comfort Case gives a child entering foster care dignity and hope. Each Case is packed with a cozy new pair of pajamas, a stuffed animal to hug, a toothbrush, soap, and other personal care items. The gift of these simple items tells a child, you matter.

To date, Comfort Cases has delivered more than 150,000 cases, in all US states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico. Cases are packed with brand-new, age-approprate items for babies (up to age 2), children ages 3-10, and youth ages 11+. These items help a child settle into their new home and provide them with a sense of self-worth. Some items relate to self-care; others help soothe and comfort the child. Items like books, journals, and coloring books provide a healthy distraction and teach stress management skills and a vehicle through which to express feelings.

Comfort Cases also educates the public about the issues facing youth in foster care. They believe in the importance of encouraging young people to lead by example and to take action to alleviate the suffering of children in the system. They provide volunteer opportunities for all ages so that the entire community can get involved in solving the problem.

Childhood trauma can mess you up for life. Rob went through SO MUCH as a kid – violence, neglect, sexual abuse… then the sudden loss of his parents and getting dumped into the foster care system, which presented its own set of challenges. Despite all of the pain Rob’s experienced and the challenges he’s faced, Rob has managed not only to survive, but thrive. He’s transformed his pain into passion – Rob is on a mission to change the experience for every child in the foster care system. As Rob says, “All we have to do is get off the couch and be DOERS.”

Rob is Powered by Philanthropy — he is on a mission to build compassionate communities that care for the most vulnerable among us, and believes we can all do something to bring comfort to children in foster care. He urges folks to join Comfort Cases as they work to eliminate trash bags from the system and show children in foster care that they matter.


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