The Board of El Paso County Commissioners at its regular meeting Tuesday, recognized May as National Foster Care Month, and thanked foster families for opening their hearts and homes to children in need.
“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 Cami Bremer as she read the Proclamation into the record. “The immeasurable and ongoing gifts of time and caring given by foster families in El Paso County are greatly appreciated and deserve public thanks.”
On any given day in El Paso County, about 850 children are living in out-of-home care, which includes kin and foster homes. There is always a need for foster families, and it is a priority to keep siblings together and in their neighborhoods. Foster families provide secure, stable places to call home until children in foster care can either safely reunite with their parents or establish other lifelong family relationships.
“We have a great community in El Paso County,” said El Paso County Executive Director of Human Services Julie Krow. “Even with the coronavirus, foster parents have stepped up to provide loving homes for children in need.”
The Department of Human Services (DHS) works in partnership with local Child Placement Agencies (CPA), 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. El Paso County DHS licenses a select number of specialized foster homes to meet the needs of older youth who require an extra layer of support and services.
Hope and Home Executive Director Ross Wright and foster families shared their thoughts with a video.
“Thank you to our CPAs,” Krow said. “They have done amazing work to support families. Our DHS staff have continued to do amazing work. The County has licensed three foster homes and four more are in the process. These homes provide placements for youth with behavioral health challenges, so they are not in congregate care.”
Efforts continue to strengthen families and connect vulnerable children with concerned citizens who, as foster parents, mentors, and advocates, will help them to thrive on their way to adulthood and successfully navigate changes, especially during this global health crisis. Mike Worley, regional manager of CarePortal, coordinated donations of computers so that foster children could continue to learn when in-person schooling changed.
“These parents take on a great responsibility,” said Commissioner Holly Williams. “We appreciate them for all that they do.”
Supporting and strengthening foster families takes a community. Last year, DHS worked closely with the Colorado Springs Conservatory to help share the message about the ongoing need for foster families in our region.