Austin nonprofit stepping up to help foster families in need during pandemic

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Did you know that many people who set out to be foster parents quit within the first year?

Add a pandemic to the mix, and taking on the responsibilities of raising multiple kids can be a challenge, so what happens if the foster parent can’t provide for their children?

Kathleen Ender knows just how important stability is for a foster child.

“Finding the right fit, and the right environment and the right family for these kids is essential,” Ender said.

Over the years she has been able to foster a child herself, but now she works with Austin Angels to make sure other foster parents are able to provide so a child doesn’t have to leave.

“It’s completely devastating to not have that sense of security,” Ender said.

According to a National Council for Adoption study, more than half of foster families quit fostering within the first year, and COVID-19 isn’t helping.

“So for foster families, I think the reason so many will close their home is they are not equipped and not supported,” said Susan Ramirez, CEO of Austin Angels.

The constant change for a child isn’t healthy, Ramirez says.

“Children will move several times within their first two years of entering care, so if you think about what that does, it is a new community, a new school,” Ramirez said.

With some foster parents losing their jobs because of COVID-19, it makes it even harder.

“Our agency will help to provide resources, mentorship, relationship building,” Ramirez said.

Austin Angels also will drop off groceries or clothes to support families in need.

The organization’s goal is to make sure foster parents get the help they need so they can continue making a difference in a child’s life.

“The need for supported and trained and equipped foster homes is greater now more than ever,” Ender said.

Austin Angels offers a volunteer program where you can sponsor a foster family.

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