More foster families needed locally, statewide

Published: Oct. 24, 2017 at 7:08 PM MDT
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There is a shortage of foster homes in Colorado right now.

The State of Colorado's foster care system said it needs about a thousand new foster homes within the next two years.

The shortage is being felt In Mesa County. There are 120 foster homes and nearly 260 kids in and out of home care. In situations like these, siblings and families can be separated and moved out of the county.

"I have been doing this for about 19 years, and we have more kids in care now than we ever have. Ever," said Kathy McCoy, the adoption program manager at Ariel Clinical Services.

"This is not unique to Mesa County. Counties all across the state find themselves with more children than appropriate foster homes," said Janet Rowland, the executive director of CASA.

That can be hard on kids going through an already tough time.

"There are some kids that get placed in other counties, and we would like to keep them here," Sarah St. Martin, foster care supervisor at Mesa County Department of Human Services, said.

"We had one family that had five children who were placed in four different homes in three different counties," Rowland said.

The County and other foster placement agencies are looking for more families to open their homes.

"If you're one of those families that 'the kids always come to my house in the neighborhood' or 'we take the stray dogs that nobody wants,' those are the good foster families," McCoy said.

They said they're in special need of Latino families. Almost 20 percent of the kids in foster care in Mesa County are Latino.

"It's very important for the kids to be placed in a home where they feel they're in their own culture, and they feel very comfortable," Rowland said.

"Foster care is hard. It's not for everybody. I did it for three years," St.Martin said. "So I can attest that it's tough. It impacts your family. It impacts you, and it is so rewarding."

Clifton and central Grand Junction are in the most need of foster families. Clifton only has one certified home with the Department of Human Services.

For more information on how to become a foster parent, follow the link on the side of the article or call (970) 248-2794.