Interest in Fostering Kids Grows in Wake of AJ Freund Tragedy, Advocates Say

Baby blue ribbons lined the streets Wednesday of downtown Crystal Lake in memory of 5-year-old Andrew "AJ" Fruend, who police say was beaten and buried by his own parents.

Emily Kunish, president of Moms of McHenry County, says one of the ways people are making a difference in the wake of such a tragedy is by becoming foster families.

"His death will not be in vain and we will work to change and support and do what we can as a community so that this doesn’t happen again," seh said. "Instead of being angry instead of feeling helpless people are saying hey we have to do something we have to help these kids that have no voice that need a stable place."

Susan McConnell, of the organization Let it Be Us, recruits foster families. She says in the wake of AJ’s tragic death registration has nearly tripled for two informational seminars.

“It’s been exploding, the hits on our website is going crazy, we’re not able to leave our office is really a great response," she said. "It’s the tipping point right now."

As NBC 5 spoke with McConnell, an Illinois Department of Children and Family Services staffer called in requesting a home for a child right.

The department investigated several reports of abuse and neglect at the Freund home but determined they were unfounded.

"The system needs our help we work with people at DCFS they are awesome people they work really hard they just need us," McConnell said.

Jennifer Mcanerews is an Illinois foster parent.

"When people heard about this story about AJ, that’s what draws people to say what can we do," she said. "This is what people can do, and to love a child is super easy."

Let It Be us will host seminars on Fostering Saturday and Tuesday they had to reserve larger rooms to accommodate the hundreds of hopeful new moms and dads.

"Like I said this is the tipping point," McConnell said. "This is where we are and things will start to get better now. I’m convinced things will get better now."

The seminars are open to anyone interested regardless of where you live. For more information visit

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