MCALLEN, Texas — In the Rio Grande Valley, foster parents are still caring for children in the midst of a pandemic and keeping up with their school work.
Despite the risks brought about by COVID-19, Circles of Care a state foster service and foster parents, are continuing to care for children in need.
“We knew how important it was to meet with our children, to ensure the safety and well-being of them in the foster homes, so for the most part we’ve been in the homes,” said Anna Alvarado the family home developer at Circles of Care in Mcallen.
Like many, Alvarado says her job changed when the pandemic hit, and with it came new risks for foster parents, too.
“So, some of the obstacles we run into obviously is the COVID-19—there’s always a risk of exposure,” said Alvarado. “Definitely when our children are coming into our foster homes, they may or may not be tested—it’s really based on whether there’s known exposure or if they are presenting any obvious symptoms.”
Now, foster parents are juggling homeschool for new foster children this year.
“Some of the other obstacles we are seeing is we have some of our foster parents who maybe working full-time but maybe juggling online schooling for children or virtual learning,” said Alvarado.
Karen Countryman, a full-time teacher, has five kids now–one biological, two adopted and two foster children—four of five are going to school online.
She says the biggest obstacle is accommodating their learning disabilities.
“Both of my foster children and both of my adopted children, they both have learning disabilities, so that part has made it harder,” said Countryman.
Countryman says it is the national month of adoption and is passionate about caring for children in need.
“They deserve safety—they deserve love, so then why wouldn’t you do it? Why wouldn’t you give a child that?,” said Countryman.
Circles of Care is hosting a toy drive for the Christmas holiday, click here to view drop-off locations.