Five Colorado Families Recognized in Celebration of National Foster Care Month

DENVER (May 6, 2024) — To mark National Foster Care Month and encourage more Coloradans to become foster parents, the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) recognized five foster families during a luncheon at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science on Saturday, May 4, 2024. 

These families are examples of ordinary Coloradans doing something extraordinary to strengthen families and their community. Their support for reunification and commitment to caring for youth of all ages is remarkable,” said Mollie Bradlee, interim director of the CDHS Office of Children, Youth and Families. “They are an inspiration for others to consider what they can do right now to make a difference for kids and families.” 

When parents need additional support to provide safety and care for their children, county human/social service agencies work to meet those needs with a focus on keeping families together. In instances where that is not possible, caseworkers first look for kin — adults who have an established, trusted relationship with the child — to step in. Whenever there is no kinship possibility, foster families provide safety, stability and care. Today in Colorado, there are 3,448 children and youth living with Colorado’s 2,471 certified kinship and foster families.

“We know that people are curious about foster care and want to know more about what it is really like,” said Bradlee. “By sharing these real stories, we hope to inspire more Coloradans to support children and youth who need a temporary safe place to heal while their parents or caregivers work on building skills to help their children thrive.”

Every community in Colorado continues to seek out more foster families as the state works to implement the Family First Prevention Services Act (Family First). Family First is a federal law that seeks to ensure children and youth who can’t live safely at home are living in a kinship or foster family home with appropriate support instead of residential care. The Act also emphasizes reunification with biological family members whenever possible. Many of the families recognized by CDHS this year are being honored for their efforts in elevating support for older youth and youth with higher needs who might otherwise live in a residential care setting, such as a group home or residential child care facility, and excelling reunification with biological family members. 

Being a foster parent, while challenging, can be extremely rewarding. In Colorado, foster parents can be:

  • Single, married, or in a committed relationship
  • All races and ethnicities
  • All sexual orientations, gender identities, or gender expressions
  • Homeowners or renters
  • An experienced parent or a first-time parent
  • Older or young (minimum 21 years old)

To learn more about becoming a foster parent, visit  

The five families being recognized by the State of Colorado for National Foster Care Month are:

Desmond and Emelia Boateng from Peyton

Six years ago Desmond Boateng decided to take his experience working with children and youth in residential settings to become a full-time foster parent. Desmond and his wife Emelia, along with their three biological children, all get great joy from supporting male children and youth with more complex challenges, including intellectual and developmental disabilities. Desmond and Emelia work together to “build a bridge” with the biological families of the more than 45 children who have been in their home, many of whom still return to visit them regularly. Desmond encourages everyone he meets to consider becoming a foster parent and has recruited several foster parents through mentorship.

Jennifer and Stacy Gardinier from Dacono 

Jennifer and Stacy had one daughter when they went from being a family of three to a family of eight overnight. Jennifer and Stacy, along with their eight-year-old daughter, accepted a sibling group of five children who had been their neighbors. These children, ranging in age from two to 17, were in need of a safe place to go. Although Jennifer and Stacy admit that being parents to six children can be challenging at times, they have seen bonding in this sibling group in their home which has become a place where they feel safe and are thriving together. 

Chad Harbertson and Kayunte Berry from Lakewood

Chad became a single foster parent more than six years ago. Over the last six years he has cared for 49 children and youth, many of whom were sibling groups and teens who needed a safe place to land for a few days, or sometimes longer. Last year Chad’s partner Berry moved in and they now foster as a team. Chad and Berry currently have two infants and two teens in their home. Although they hope to adopt, they are also very supportive of reunification because they know kids want to return home. Chad and Berry find working with teens while being positive role models in their lives is very rewarding and continue to stay in touch with many of the youth who have been in their home. 

Josh Skaggs from Colorado Springs

In 2015, Josh’s life was changed when he began mentoring a 12-year-old in foster care. Since then he has supported many young men in crisis, as both a mentor and a foster parent. Josh writes a weekly online newsletter about his life as a foster dad, «Sketches of Found Family.» Josh is currently hosting two brothers, and the three of them enjoy going indoor rock climbing and biking together. Although being a single dad comes with many challenges, Josh is deeply invested in his community and leans on them for support. His passion is to walk with young men during pivotal seasons of life and to see them grow, heal, and discover themselves.

Ahna and Andres Raygoza from Wiggins 

After having known she wanted to be a foster parent from a young age, Ahna and her husband Andres became foster parents in Morgan County nearly four years ago and have had 22 children and youth of all ages in their home. Ahna and Andres work as a team to support biological families to help them reunify with their children. They have had children who have successfully reunified with their biological families return to visit. Ahna and Andres have also worked with their community to collect welcome kits with blankets, stuffed animals, toothbrushes and clothing for all children and youth coming into foster care in their community. 

Watch this video from Governor Jared Polis celebrating Colorado’s foster families and the five families being recognized this month. 

To learn more about becoming a foster parent go to To meet kids currently waiting to be adopted visit  

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