There are many ways to support foster children, as illustrated with a partnership involving the Department of Human Services, the library district and an author.
The All Pikes Peak Reads book this year for young adults is All the Impossible Things by Lindsay Lackey. The middle-grade novel is about a young girl navigating the foster care system. Author Lindsay Lackey and Pikes Peak Library District donated several boxes of books to DHS for children who are in foster care.
“The Department of Human Services does not operate alone,” said DHS Executive Director Julie Krow. “Community partnerships, such as this project with Pikes Peak Library District, highlight the roles we all play in strengthening and supporting families in our region.”
The books will be given to youth that are connected to El Paso County DHS, with the hope that the story will show that others experience foster care just like them.
“We are so grateful to Pikes Peak Library District and Ms. Lackey for putting this treasure into the hands of our youth. Youth in foster care are actively experiencing some of the most difficult things and it is our hope that youth can learn it is not an impossible thing to be able to live in safe families,” said Jenni Swogger, CYFS Assistant Manager, Kinship and Foster Care Programs.
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’re very proud to provide this book to children in foster care in our community through this partnership with the Department of Human Services,” said PPLD Director of Young Adult Services Joanna Nelson Rendón. “We work hard to make sure each member of our community has access to resources that can positively impact their lives, and believe this story – by a local author, no less – can be impactful for these children in an amazing way.”
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.
“DHS caseworkers strive to make it so children in our community who are placed out of their homes, know safe and loving homes,” said Swogger. “One way we are doing that is through the active recruitment of foster parents for older adolescents some of whom currently call a staffed facility their home. I would encourage anyone who has ever considered being a foster parent or a respite provider to reach out! We need you now more than ever.”
Those interested in learning more about becoming a foster home can visit the DHS foster website: http://www.elpasoco.com/fostercare.
All Pikes Peak Reads is Pikes Peak Library District’s annual program geared towards celebrating literature, improving community connection, and fostering dialogue across social, cultural, and generational lines.