COLORADO SPRINGS — The COVID-19 pandemic continues to make an impact, especially to Colorado Springs agencies who help kids who've been removed from their families because of abuse or neglect.
One local foster care agency, Hope and Home, says they have over two hundred foster families with 80 recently licensed. Despite the pandemic, the organization says families are continuing to foster children and they haven't seen a decrease in interest.
"We are always on standby and ready to take care of kids when they come into care. They're always a need for foster families, but there's a greater need during the pandemic," said Jacquelyn Thurman- Wright. "With kids not being at school, they are not in the line of sight of teachers who are mandatory reporters. Sometimes we're seeing this abuse go on because these kids are flying under the radar and not being seen."
The organization says COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the foster care system.
"The most obvious and immediate impact on Hope and Home is that we had to suspend in-person support groups because on a given night we could have 250 people in the building. But within a week, we were up and running on Zoom and Facebook live," said Thurman- Wright.
Right now, Hope and Home is fully online and virtual but they're still taking inquiry phone calls and placing kids in foster homes.
Sean and Mandy have been fostering since 2018 and didn't let the pandemic get in their way of adopting triplets and fostering a newborn baby.
"We didn't go to the courthouse because of COVID. So we had it on our couch via ZOOM with the judge," said Mandy.
The couple says the pandemic hasn't made fostering easy.
"Visits are a lot harder, they're more virtual unless they're younger and that its really hard. Therapies, a lot of foster kids come in needing therapies and they're usually virtual," said Mandy.
With the new restrictions, doctor visits are harder as well.
"So if one of the triplets have an appointment, even though they're triplets we can't bring the other two. We actually hired a nanny because of it," said Mandy and Sean.
Even with the pandemic, it was not only important for Sean and Mandy but their children, that they continue fostering.
"We felt like this is what we had to do and then when we were getting our other foster baby. We sat down and said maybe we have to because we all felt drawn to them," said Calvin.
The family encourages others to foster, especially with the increased need. Anyone interested in becoming a foster parent can call Hope and Home at (719) 575-9887 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.