Many professionals, entities and families in our region are part of the critical work of foster care, and the commissioners thanked all those who help protect the vulnerable. The Board of El Paso County Commissioners at its regular meeting Tuesday, May 24, recognized May as National Foster Care Month.
“All children deserve and benefit from enduring, positive relationships with caring adults, especially when their own families are in crisis and unable to provide for their essential well-being,” said Commissioner Holly Williams as she read the Proclamation into the record. “Children in foster care require secure, stable places to call home until they can either safely reunite with their parents or establish other lifelong family relationships.”
On any given day this year through April in El Paso County, about 561 children were in out-of-home care, which includes kin and foster homes. There is always a need for foster families in El Paso County and across Colorado, and it is a priority to keep siblings together and in their neighborhoods.
“CYFS staff are responsible for the safety, permanency and wellbeing of the children that enter our system and that, of course, includes foster care placements,” said Stacie Kwitek, El Paso County Department of Human Services executive director. “We appreciate the opportunity to highlight foster families, our partners, and the others who contribute to improving the lives of children in our region.”
The Department of Human Services (DHS) works in partnership with a local Child Placement Agency (CPA) network, involved families and extended families, schools, faith and civic organizations, law enforcement and the judiciary toward the goal of positively affecting the lives of children in foster care. DHS also has a select group of county-certified foster homes for older youth who require an extra layer of support and services.
“Thank you for the tremendous amount of work and the emotional amount of work that goes into this for the staff and our foster families,” said Commissioner Carrie Geitner. “I cannot thank you enough.”
The decision to become a foster home often includes lot of questions. The process can seem dauting, but placement agencies and DHS staff work closely with families all along the way and provide training and supports when a child is placed in the home.
“There are challenges, but the best part of being a foster home is having a significant positive impact on life of a child or youth, no matter how long or how brief the placement,” said Catania Jones, director of Children, Youth and Family Services in DHS.
Those interested in learning more about becoming a foster home can visit the DHS website to contact Child Placement Agencies directly.