COLORADO SPRINGS — May is National Foster Care Awareness month, and it's a time to recognize people and organizations who help foster kids in our community. News5 spoke to a local organization as well as a foster mother about what the importance of this month.
"Sometimes, people in our community forget that there really is a need for kids in foster care to have great families to live with," said Jacquelyn Thurman-Wright, the clinical director of Hope and Home.
The organization, which helps place kids in foster care or get adopted, was founded in 2008. Since then, staff have impacted the lives of more than 3,000 kids.
The name of the organization is something they strive to provide for kids in foster care. That's because nearly 800 kids in El Paso County are in the foster system.
"Whenever they are discharged back to their families, they are taking with them a vision of what family looks like, a vision of what community can be," said Thurman-Wright.
More than 150 families are licensed with the organization, including the Louissant family. Jerrica Louissaint became licensed with the organization in January. She's provided care for seven children since then, all while taking care of five kids of her own.
"I have a placement child that we're basically in the process of watching him for foster care, so we can adopt him later. He's been with us for three months," said Louissaint.
As a child, Louissaint was in and out of foster homes. She knows what it's like and feels good about returning the favor to other children in need.
"It was so scary being in a different house, with different rules, different setting," said Louissaint. "So as a parent, I went through it too. I tell them 'Hey, I know what you're going through. Let me take some of that away and let you be a kid now."
Foster Care Awareness month is also about recognizing parents like her who've stepped up to the plate. She now feels like fostering more kids in the future is her purpose.
"This is more than me giving back. this is me saying I don't like the hand that was dealt to me. Let me control that hand," said Louissaint. "This is what I was put here for. I was put here in this world to go through this traumatic childhood, not to sit there and suffer from it, but to understand."
In Colorado, there are currently about 4,500 kids in the foster care system. Hope and Home has helped placed about 200 of those kids in foster homes.