LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - There are currently 322 foster children in Comanche County and only 105 foster families and unfortunately, the pandemic has only increased the need for more homes.
Being a foster parent is no easy task in a normal year, but when you add in a pandemic?
“It’s been a little challenging because we had to balance trying to help kids with trauma and education issues already but go virtual because it’s really hard to coordinate with school. They’re not bad kids, they’re kids who have been in bad situations and they don’t know how to handle it and when you put them in a healthy situation, they don’t know how to handle that either. Everyone is trying to find their way,” said foster parent Madonna Kenny.
Madonna Kenny has been a foster parent for 6 years and says despite those difficulties, her experience has been overwhelmingly positive because of the kids.
“They just need a safe place to land and just to feel safe. It’s really tough right now. When you go into a new family and you’ve never been anywhere else, you don’t know what to do. So it’s really important for families to be willing to step up and say I can do that for you and I’m willing to do that for you,” Kenny said.
The pandemic has also made it more difficult to get information out and recruit potential foster families, something that Child Welfare Specialist Ethel Pennington said greatly impacts the kids.
“When a child is taken into custody, if we don’t have the homes to accommodate the children that are taken into custody, we have to take them to another county. They have to be removed from the school, their friend,” Pennington said.
Pennington said right now, they are looking for many loving homes for teenagers.
“Search your heart and if you find out this is something you would like to do, you have the space in your home, contact me at DHS and I can walk them through the OK benefits site,” Pennington said
If you want more information about being a foster parent, you can go here or call the Comanche County DHS office at (580) 250-3600.