During these uncertain times being created by the coronavirus pandemic, the need remains great in Iowa for foster parents.

This is National Foster Care Month and Bambi Schrader, the recruitment coordinator at Four Oaks Family Connections, says fostering is both rewarding and challenging.

Schrader says, “National Foster Care Month recognizes and honors those families who have stepped up to help local families and children in need when they have unstable and unsafe environments and take kids into their care.” Adoption numbers have seen ups and downs in the past year in the 27-county region of north-central and northeast Iowa where Schrader works.

“We, in some areas, have met the need but definitely in other areas have not,” Schrader says. “Last year, we had 420 children that entered foster care but unfortunately, only 291 foster families.”

Despite the difficulties brought on by COVID-19, she says the foster family program remains strong and positive in Iowa.
“I know several families that have six, seven, eight, nine kids that they’re taking care of, and that would be a combination of birth, foster and adoptive, and none of them have given notice,” she says. “None of them have called and said, ‘I can’t do this.’ They make it work.”

Four Oaks covers all 99 Iowa counties with the mission “to recruit and retain stable, nurturing and diverse foster and adoptive families to keep children safe from further trauma and assist them in their transition to permanency.”

(By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)