Your local office:

Sep 15, 2015

“Find something you love to do,” the saying goes, “and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.”

A career litigator with the Kansas City law firm Shook, Hardy & Bacon, Gene Balloun loves the work he does so much that he does some of it for free. Balloun has been providing pro bono legal representation for families adopting children through the Kansas foster care system for nearly 30 years. His efforts have helped families provide permanent, adoptive homes for more than 1,000 children.   

Although the state pays the attorney fees for these cases, Balloun has directed that money to a scholarship fund to help children formerly in foster care attend college or pursue vocational training. To date, this fund has distributed more than 500 scholarships totaling more than $700,000. By awarding these funds, Balloun said he wants to “give every child a chance to be everything they can be.”

For Balloun, this mission is as personal as it is professional. He and his wife, Sheila, have fostered 29 children and adopted two.

Balloun shared his story with Brian DeVos, Bethany’s senior vice president of child and family services. Learn more about how you can become a foster parent or be the forever family a teen in foster care has been waiting for at

Bethany’s Every Child audio podcast engages leading voices from ministries, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and the arts to discuss issues relevant to children and families. Topics often include child welfare, family preservation, social justice, and culturally appropriate social services in developing countries.