INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Representatives of the foster care system say they are seeing fewer parents step up, and child advocates blame the pandemic. Some foster parents who previously had extra time to help are now facing financial and housing problems. But for the few who are able to open their doors to children in need it means everything.
Bethany Christian Services representatives said foster parents with children already placed with them have been able to adapt. But there’s been a drop in people signing up to become future foster parents. Once the pandemic lifts there’s concern there will be an influx of children needing homes. So Bethany wants to be prepared with backup if that happens.
Ten children may seem like a lot, but coming from a big family herself, that was Crystal Pippens’ dream. But that dream shifted.
“I have two children of my very own. A boy and a girl. My little boy is deceased. And it’s been so rewarding just to give back,” said Pippens.
She still feels the loss, but motherhood has shown her she has a lot more love and compassion to give. Pippens is a foster parent and she’s caring for one of Indiana’s 13,000 foster kids.
“It’s a great way to not only change your life but you have your very own life impacted. Knowing that you’re part of a greater cause,” she said.
Because of the pandemic, Bethany Christian Services foster care recruitment and licensing representative Tamara Timm said fewer people like Pippens are stepping up to help. Many are citing financial and housing challenges.
“We have remarkable people who are choosing to say ‘I have things to give and I have time to give and I have love to give’ and are stepping up to the plate,” Timm said.
Right now the child placement needs have stayed steady, but that may change in the future. At the moment with kids being isolated at home, signs of abuse or neglect may go unnoticed. But once the pandemic lifts, children will be back in front of teachers, doctors and others required to report. And that could create a higher number of kids that will need to be placed.
“Whether it’s one child or whether 100 children that we have homes for these children,” Timm said.
While Pippens is doing her part, she is also urging those who are flexible to help spread more love and compassion.
“I think with anything the unknowns are always a little terrifying I would say but just take the step,” Pippens said.