AUSTIN – An increase in the number of children Child Protective Services has removed from homes has forced some children to spend at least two nights in Child Protective Services offices in the last month.
CPS removed 481 more children in January 2016 compared to the same month last year, according to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. There are not enough foster families for the state to place these children in. As a result, young people have slept in state offices in the past month, according to the Dallas Morning News, measures that haven’t been taken since 2007-2008.
Buckner Children and Family Services Senior Director of Domestic Foster Care and Adoption Samela Macon said the need for foster families is critical.
“We have a tremendous need for foster families,” she said. “There’s a shortage of families and a shortage of families who can take in sibling groups. Beyond providing places of safety, foster families provide love and stability for children at their most vulnerable. Texas needs families to step forward to care for these children in need.”
Some regions of Texas do not have enough foster families to care for children at their most vulnerable, often resulting in children being sent hundreds of miles away from their home. Nearly 110 Hidalgo County children were placed outside the region in 2015. Nearly 48 Cameron County youth were placed outside the Rio Grande Valley last year. Sibling groups and children with extensive needs also are more difficult to place in families.
“It’s such a traumatic experience for a child to be separated from their siblings,” Macon said. “Many of our children are caregivers for their siblings. When those kids are separated, they are left not knowing if their sibling will be taken care of or if they’ll even ever see them again. The experience re-traumatizes them.”
Buckner staff members are working hard to recruit more foster families.
To find out more about becoming a foster parent, request more information here or call 855-264-8783. Buckner offers training, education and encouragement along the journey of becoming a foster parent.
“Each day, more children enter the foster care system,” Macon said. “They are hurting and alone. We are asking people to help care for them in their time of need.”
To learn how you can support child in CPS care or become a foster parent to a hurting child, visit our foster care page.