DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – More families are taking advantage of child services offered in the Triangle area amid the pandemic.

Youth Villages offers therapy and services for those 5 to 18 years old.

“They may have experienced a sexual assault, they may have witnessed domestic violence, or they may have been in a traumatic car accident or something,” said Lexi Kam, regional supervisor for Youth Villages.

Their counselors spend hours with the children, helping navigate their problems.

“We really are there for them throughout the whole time and really help them feel like they have control over what’s happening, and we teach them a lot of skills,” said Kam.

They also help kids transition out of foster care or other services.

Foster family volunteers have decreased with COVID-19.

“It’s challenging not knowing where the youth have been exposed to or if there are other factors for the foster family and we do have caregivers that have their own health concerns too,” said Kam.

The pandemic’s thrown several curveballs their way, as they’ve had to move to virtual services.

“They’ve had to isolate, and they’ve been without that peer interaction at school or the extracurricular activities that may have been in person are all virtual,” said Kam.

Youth Villages serves 1,700 families in all of North Carolina.

Kam said they’ve had more and more referrals in recent months.

“I know we’ve been staying steady with the families we’ve been able to serve,” said Kam.

Because the services are crucial for these kids, they’ve worked around COVID-19.

“It’s been very stressful times for all of them.”

They’ve bought phones and wireless modems for families, met outside or met with masks.

They’re starting to meet in person again with kids more often, hoping to make up for lost time face-to-face.

“We’re trying to figure out what’s this new normal of continuing our role,” said Kam.

She said no matter what, they’ll do what it takes to serve them.

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