May is Foster Care Awareness Month and Foster Parent Appreciation Month. However, officials say that even though the month is ending, the need for foster homes still remains. The foster and adoption agencies that make up the group ‘Fostering Concho Valley Kids’ launched several initiatives to boost awareness and interaction during the month of May.
“Due to the pandemic we had to take a different approach to things just so we could get the community involved, still show appreciation for our foster parents, from a distance,” Kassia Jaramillo with Children’s Hope said.
“I was a little worried at the beginning because of people maybe not wanting to take kiddos in and this just makes things more difficult, but I feel like we’ve got quite a bit of inquiries. We started out with 12 or 13 families before the pandemic that were in the process of becoming licensed and from march to now, we’ve got at least 24. It was good to see people set up and say we want to be part of the solution,” Yvonne Velasquez with A World For Children said.
When it comes to training and guiding the future foster parents through the process, the pandemic did not cause any road blocks.
“It didn’t slow down luckily, and we’re grateful for that, we’ve gotten families licensed in the meantime and like she said we’ve got families in the verification process and they’re still going through training but they’ll be done shortly,” Jaramillo said.
As for the statistics and reports coming about about the number of cases going down, several factors play into the drop in numbers.
“We have to keep in mind is that once we get kiddos back in school and normalcy activities where they’re around mandated reporters, we expect there to be an influx because right now the kids are not out in the community, they’re more isolated than normal and so maybe we’re not getting reports that we should be getting and that we’re used to,” Velasquez said.
Another troubling issue regarding the calls currently coming in to the agencies is the severity of the situations.
“Even though we’re not getting as many calls the severity of those calls coming in are really, really difficult cases. The abuse is a little more severe or the neglect so this is really impacting us in different ways that our numbers can’t report,” Velasquez said.
For more information on fostering and adopting, click here.