DENVER — On any given day, 3,500 Colorado kids are in foster care. A new pilot program in Colorado is aiming to improve outcomes for foster kids by creating a professional licensure level for foster parents. SAFY of Colorado is recruiting full-time foster parents who can forego another job to provide care to a foster child.
SAFY Executive Director Jenna Coleman said the goal is to provide more foster children with a stable home setting.
“We’re looking for that family that can be there on all levels, 7 days a week, bringing the kids into their family, and welcoming them as their own,” Coleman said.
Coleman pointed out that many children in foster care have inconsistent school schedules and may be home more often. They may also have to be taken to multiple therapy appointments.
Foster mom Anabel Martinez isn’t in the professional program, but she is a model of what a full-time foster parent looks like. As a stay-at-home mom, she’s taken in 26 foster kids in the last 6 years.
“It becomes your job, but at the end of the day, it's your family, these are your kids, and that's what you try to do, you try to help them belong,” Martinez said.
Professional foster parents accepted to the SAFY program will get an annual salary and stipend to cover all the costs of taking care of a child, as well as training and 24/7 on call support. Applicants must be at least 21 years old and have experience working with high-needs children.