COLORADO SPRINGS — With in-person learning suspended, it's especially hard on kids in the foster care system.
"I think the need is always there," said Ben Schoch, a placement coordinator who works at Kids Crossing, a non-profit determined to provide a safe and caring home for every foster child.
Although school is a place of learning, for many kids in foster care, it's also a place to connect with trusted adults. Now, they're having to cope without that support.
"[They are now] away from their teachers, their comfort zones," he explained.
And that means there's an even greater need for foster parents.
"[Foster children] need someone to step up and be available in this time of need," he emphasized.
"Any trusting relationship a child can form with someone can be a bridge to making sure that their basic needs are being met."
Kids Crossing says they've noticed an uptick in folks expressing their interest.
"[Adults now have] time to slow down and say, 'I really, maybe, thought about being a foster parent before but I was too busy to kinda do any research or dig in to see what it really took to do that.'"
Recruiters are also adapting during this time by catching up with interested families virtually.
"If you have a heart for this, and you really want to help kids, let's just talk," Schoch said. "Let's have a conversation, let's see where it leads and we can answer your questions."
The next step for interested foster families would be a screening and training process.
The result: A better life for these children who simply need a family to lean on.
"These are our neighbors, and these are our friends and family members' neighbors," he pointed out. "And they're the kids our kids are playing with at school."
If you'd like more information on becoming a foster parent, you can visit KidsCrossing.com [kidscrossing.com] and ChildWelfare.gov/FosterCareMonth [childwelfare.gov]