By Matt Hamer
COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult on everyone, but particularly difficult on foster parents and the youth in their care. As schools closed, workplaces went remote, and health precautions made everyday life more complicated, many foster parents were unable to continue fostering. Though a shortage of foster homes is nothing new, we now face a crisis-level scarcity of foster families, particularly ones that are willing to take in older youth and sibling groups.
Youth who age out of foster care without having a permanent family face some grim statistics:
42% will be convicted of a crime
20% experience instant homelessness
70% of girls become pregnant by age 21. The children born to these young parents often end up in foster care, and the cycle continues.
Most kids who are in foster care also have siblings in care. Being removed from one’s home, no matter how dysfunctional the environment was, is an incredibly traumatic experience. Families willing to take multiple children at once allow agencies to keep sibling groups together, thus sparing children the additional trauma of being separated from each other. Any bit of consistency and normalcy helps ground these kids and ease them into a new environment as they begin their healing journey.
FosterAdopt Connect is a local resource with more than 20 years of experience working in the Kansas and Missouri foster care systems. They break the cycle of generational trauma by offering services to youth in foster care, foster/adoptive families and the biological families of kids in care. Children entering the foster care system need families that will provide love, healing and stability for a brighter future.
Consider becoming a foster parent by opening your home to youth who need a loving family. To learn about requirements to become a foster parent, visit fosteradopt.org.