DENVER -- The disturbing video released last week of a 2-year old Colorado boy allegedly abused by his mother led to the arrest of 27-year-old Katrina Kennedy Flores, who is in jail charged with cruelty toward a child.
Her son is in protective custody. The story prompted hundreds of people to reach out, wanting to take in the boy. But the reality is, there are hundreds of kids in the metro area already in need of foster families.
In Douglas, Arapahoe and Jefferson counties, there are close to 1,200 kids in out-of-home placement. Kids like the little boy in the video that went viral last week.
“That story broke and the first thing I thought of is this is where people can help,” said Adam Rodriguez, supervisor of the Collaborative Foster Care program.
As horrific as that video is, Rodriguez said social workers see kids in similar situations on a daily basis.
“Social workers, we see it every single day. We have to make crucial decisions,” Rodriguez said. “If you really want to help your neighbor, this is the best way you can do that.”
People already are helping neighbors, including Darrel Walker, who has fostered more than 35 kids over the years.
“It’s rewarding, its heartbreaking,” Walker said.
For Kaleo George, fostering is a source of motivation and joy.
“Ultimately, you know, when we all lay our heads down on the pillow each night, we all get good rest and we all know we're in a safe place, and yeah, we're really happy to be a part of it,” George said.
But the need for more foster families is great. Currently, 150 kids in those three metro counties are in need of foster homes.
“The community has to step up to do that. The department is powerless with that,” Rodriguez said.
The power is held within those who sometimes wear capes, but even they will tell you who the real heroes really are.
“They are the real superheroes, all the kids in the system because they are the victims. We are here to support them,” Walker said.
In Douglas, Arapahoe and Jefferson counties, there are only about 160 foster families taking care of 500 kids. There are so many more still in need of homes. The majority of them are teenagers.