GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Cheri Williams with Bethany Christian Services can't say enough good things about foster parents in West Michigan.

"They step forward to care for vulnerable kids in our community," Williams said. "Our foster parents are absolute heroes."

But, those heroes are stretched thin as the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact Michigan residents. 

"This crisis has impacted our foster parents," Williams said.

Many of those foster parents are now out of work and unable to bring additional children into their home.

"Now, we have children, who ordinarily are in child care institutions or in school, that are home 24/7 and that's just going to add extra pressure to our foster parents," Williams explained. 

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The shortage of foster parents comes at a time when stress among families is extremely high. 

"Mental health for sure contributes to overall stress level and frustration and can sometime unfortunately cause children to become more vulnerable to physical abuse," Williams said. 

Leaders at Bethany say their social workers are still in touch with families on a daily basis, but they are hoping potential foster parents will visit their website to learn more.

"If you ever thought about becoming a foster parent before, now is a great time to start the process. You can do it virtually from the comfort of your own home," Williams said. 

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