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Amarillo Foster System facing many challenges right now as COVID-19 cases rise

Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 9:40 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - The pandemic and the increase of COVID-19 cases are causing the Amarillo Foster Care System to struggle.

At home visits are becoming more difficult right now as COVID-19 cases rise.

The foster care system relies on face-to-face visits because of the effect it has on the children and their safety.

Throughout the pandemic, meeting on Zoom was not as beneficial for the children who need therapeutic help.

“There are still struggles from that. I think we’re all going from do we train in person. Things like that we’re trying to do online. Not very effective for a 5-year-old who needs play therapy, to be online who has ADHD and you know, has been sexually abused, that’s not very effective therapy. All of our children are therapeutic,” said Angel Taylor, foster parent recruiter educator at The Bair Foundation Child & Family Ministries.

With the lack of fosters, housing and funding, the Amarillo Foster Care system often has to place kids in offices or hotels overnight.

“Occasionally we do, at Saint Francis, we pride ourselves in ensuring that kids have a safe environment at the end of the day. Kids don’t need to be in offices, they need to be cared for by caring people who know this work. We don’t want our kids in offices, they need to be in homes and safe environments,” said Cristian Garcia, vice president of Saint Francis Ministries.

The majority of kids who are in the foster care system from Potter and Randall county are still being served in other areas of Texas and not here in their hometown.

Out of the 360 kids in the foster care system from Randall and Potter county, only 21 percent are being served here.

The other 79 percent of kids are being served in places like Houston, Dallas and Lubbock.

That is an issue that continues in Amarillo.

“A kid going to Palo Duro, or a kid going to Amarillo High wakes up and has to go to go to a school in South Houston. This is very much a community issue to us. We want to make sure not 21 percent of our kids from Potter or Randall are there, we want to make sure that 80 percent of our kids are placed in their communities. We know that’s how they succeed,” said Garcia.

There is a solution. If more people would take in foster children from the area, it would keep more children in Amarillo.

You can find contact information if you’re interested in fostering by clicking here for The Bair Foundation Child & Family Ministries or here for Saint Francis Ministries.

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