TYLER, Texas (KLTV) – Children in the foster system need some help getting to a safe place.
“Unfortunately child abuse does not stop because there is a pandemic,” Kristy George, Methodist Children’s Home director of family outreach said.
At the beginning of the pandemic, George said they noticed a small decrease in the number of child placement requests. Now, George estimates a 25% increase of children who need placement homes this year in comparison to 2019.
Texas Department of Family and Child Protective Services Region 4 Media Specialist Shari Pulliam said in 2019, CPS removed 185 children from their homes in Smith County, and in 2020 that number increased to 209.
Not only did the number of children needing homes increase, the number of homes decreased. George said in 2019 they had about 30 placement homes and now they have about 20 placement homes.
George said foster families decreased throughout the pandemic for multiple reasons, one being the concerns of spreading the virus.
“The in-and-out of CPS, and attorneys, and us being in the homes, it was kind of scary for some foster parents.”
The Bair Foundation agrees that there is always a need for foster families, but this year the need is growing.
“These kids are coming out of trauma and they’re coming from really difficult backgrounds and challenging situations,” Kate Hooper, The Bair Foundation Foster Parent Recruiter said. “We want to be able to provide homes for them where they can have an environment for healing.”
Written by Lexi Vennetti