COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- According to the Colorado Springs-based non-profit and foster care agency Kids Crossing, there's a shortage of foster care families in El Paso County...but the problem extends further than our area -- it's a nationwide issue.
This is something to pay close attention to, especially this month: May is National Foster Care Month. According to federal data, there are 400,000 kids in the foster care system in the United States.
Jamie Kopinski has been a foster parent for four years. Currently, she hosts four foster teens, all siblings. She says being a foster parent to the teens is the honor and privilege of her life, finding joy in helping her kids through events and phases of their lives we all experience, such as learning to drive and getting their first job.
Jamie knew from a young age she wanted to be a foster parent.
"I know the impact one person can make," Jamie says.
"When I was young, things weren't so great. I decided if I were in a position to help, I would do so."
Anlli, 18, is one of Jaime's foster teens.
"Personally, I know what kind of a great impact [foster care] has made in our lives, giving us a chance to a better future," Anlli says about being in Jamie's care.
"I definitely plan to become a foster parent when I'm able to do so."
Kids Crossing says the problem has much to do with people simply not knowing who to turn to for information or help. Many are unaware of the assistance they receive when becoming licensed to foster care, and even after they've been assigned a foster child -- from necessities to a fun night out.
Sarah Bailey, recruitment and retention specialist at Kids Crossing, says the agency is available to answer any questions -- knowing there are many for those interested in taking the leap into foster care.