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Another program hurt by pandemic

What have we been missing during the pandemic this past year? Is it the children in our communities who are most at risk?

A recent report shined some light on the impact of the pandemic on the availability of foster parents.

The number of people willing to take in a foster child reportedly has gone down in the past 10 months.

While there may be a number of reasons for that, it seems that apprehension during this challenging time is at the fore.

It makes sense. Our lives have been disrupted greatly. Schools have been off and on, with remote learning a new mode that we’ve had to embrace.

Parents, including foster parents, often need to work outside of the home and need the support of the school system. Without it, the idea of becoming a foster may be too daunting for some to follow through.

It takes a community, and schools are key, as is reliable child care.

Many perspective foster parents have told local agency officials that they want to wait until issues with schooling and childcare are resolved before making a commitment of the magnitude required of any foster parent.

Yet abused children need help and cannot afford to wait.

“We always need foster parents and now it’s even a little bit more difficult,” Jessie Young, a caseworker at KidsPeace, a private agency that deals with placing foster children, said to the Williamsport Sun-Gazette.

The goal always is to keep local children in their home communities, to maintain some semblance of normalcy for them during a trying time. It allows them to continue attending the same school, keep the same friends and participate in the same sports and activities while going through what is already a difficult situation.

That doesn’t sound like too much to ask. It sounds like the least we can do for children in need.

But it takes everyday people to open their hearts and their homes, even in the midst of a global pandemic, to be the resource that will allow abused and neglected children the opportunity to grow up in a safe environment.

To those who are foster parents, we applaud you for your dedication to providing this much needed service.

And to those who have been contemplating becoming a foster parent, we urge you to take the next step. Instead of fretting about the future, this is a solid way to make a contribution now that could have a positive impact on the future of a young person. It’s an honorable cause.

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