At any given time, there are approximately 437,000 youth in foster care in the United States. An estimated 700 children enter the system each day, and most arrive with little more than the clothes on their backs. Those who do have belongings are often given a trash bag in which to pack up and carry their life’s treasures.
Rob Scheer experienced this indignity firsthand. Over forty years ago, he entered foster care and walked up to his foster home carrying a tattered and torn trash bag. He aged out of foster care at the age of 18, became homeless, and again carried his possessions in a trash bag.
After graduating high school (while still homeless), serving in the military and moving on to have a successful career as a banker, Rob, along with his husband Reece, decided to grow their family by adopting from the foster care system. When his children arrived on his doorstep with their belongings in trash bags. Rob was floored. How, after forty years, were children in the foster care system still carrying their things in a bag used for trash?
Rob and his family decided it was time to change this practice and the idea for Comfort Cases was born. With the vision of assembling backpacks filled with comfort and personal care items to deliver to local DCFS, the Scheer family invited their community to pack some cases. The first Packing Party was held in December of 2013 and shortly thereafter Comfort Cases was established as an official 501(c)3.
To date, more than 200,000 Comfort Cases® and Comfort XL duffel bags have been distributed to children in foster care in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and now in the United Kingdom, with Comfort CasesUK launched in 2022. Rob’s ultimate goal is for every youth to receive a Comfort Case® upon entering foster care.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, Comfort Cases has been featured on The Ellen Show, The Today Show, The View, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, just to name a few. In 2017, an Upworthy video featuring Comfort Cases received over 150 million views and in 2018 Rob Scheer was named one of CNN’s Heroes. Rob and Reece Scheer are also featured in Bryce Dallas Howard’s documentary film Dads on AppleTV+.
Rob is the host of Fostering Change, a weekly audio and video podcast that brings in guests of prominence who discuss issues regarding foster care, adoption, LGBTQ+ and other timely and topical issues. Now in its 4th season, Fostering Change has been ranked the #1 Podcast for Adoption and Foster Care issues two consecutive years.
The author of A Forever Family: Fostering Change One Child at a Time, Rob’s memoir tells the inspiring story of his journey from foster care to foster parent and his drive to rebuild a broken system.
In May, 2022, Rob received an Honorary Doctoral Degree, a Doctorate of Humane Letters, from Lynn University, where he also delivered the commencement speech.
Rob lives in Maryland with his husband Reece, their five children and multiple pets including dogs, goats, chickens and a pig named Penelope.