Despite a tidal wave of changes disrupting all of our lives this spring, foster parents and caregivers haven’t missed a beat caring for our kids. When the Illinois stay at home order went into place in early March, Children’s Home & Aid was caring for more than 1,000 children in foster homes across the state. Our foster parents are heroes in normal times, but during the pandemic, they stepped up in the most amazing ways.

When school was canceled, they stepped in, learning along the way, as children adapted to the new world of “virtual” learning. Classrooms changed to Zoom rooms and school portals to communicate with teachers and school administrators became the norm, but dedicated foster moms and dads stood in the gap to be there for our kids, making the success of the children top priority.

Foster parents worked hard to maintain a sense of normalcy during a time when things were anything but normal – no visits, no movie theaters, no playdates or parks. Foster parents remained diligent, patient and were resourceful. They have powered through, keeping kids safe and modeling healthy behaviors like hand washing, social distancing and wearing masks.

And then our televisions exploded with images of George Floyd’s murder and the resulting social unrest sweeping the country. Citizens flooded the streets to demand a reckoning for the failure of law enforcement to uphold the promise of equality under the law and for the systemic injustices visited on black and brown communities.

Foster parents again stepped in, working to explain America’s troubles and tackling uncomfortable but important conversations in a way that was educational, comforting and, where possible, hopeful.

“Our foster parents have been going above and beyond during this incredibly difficult time,” said Ashley Ackerman, statewide foster parent coordinator.  “They continue to do whatever it takes to stay connected, get ongoing foster training and support and much more so the kids have what they need.”

Time and time again, foster parents have come through, making an incredible investment in something we need now more than ever – our future generations. They continue to do whatever it takes, long after others have signed off.

You can send a message of support to one of our foster families by making a gift today – add your message in the comments and we will be sure to pass it along to one of the hundreds of families across Illinois caring for children! Thank you for supporting our work to help children and families thrive.