Critical need for foster homes during coronavirus pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic is affecting foster care.

“We have one foster child who went through chemo last year and that puts him at a higher risk,” foster parent Amy Hill said. “So, for us to say yes to a new placement, we have no idea if they’ve been exposed or not or if they could be carrying the virus.”

Amy Hill fosters children through Kids Central, Inc., the lead agency in charge of foster and adoption in five counties including Lake, Marion and Sumter.

Hill said many parents might be scared to accept new children right now.

“All of our really good homes, they just fill up so fast and we need new foster parents,” Hill said. “Somebody just has to pick up the slack on the other end of that.”

Kids Centrals CEO, John Cooper, said there's a critical need right now for good foster homes in Lake and Sumter Counties.

“We want the community to know that even during a pandemic, we’re still open,” Cooper said. “The state is still conducting business. We still have children coming into foster care. So, there is still a need to place those children in good foster homes.”

FOX 35 News reached out to other adoption agencies in the area. Orange, Seminole and Osceola Counties also worried about finding foster homes during the pandemic.

Kids Central staff said they’re taking every precaution.

“We’ve worked with the current foster parents to have that discussion about taking a new child into their home,” Cooper said. “We use the healthy screening to ask those questions to make sure the child has not been exposed to COVID-19 and the coronavirus.”

Parents can still apply and train to become foster parents during the pandemic by going to Kids Central’s website. They're doing a lot of their work online now.