There simply are not enough beds for all of the children entering the foster care system, and this crisis continues to rapidly worsen. According to state data, Texas already has lost 696 beds for children this fiscal year, yet gained only 112 beds. Due to this shortage of beds and the limited resources allotted, kids are sleeping in DFPS offices. In fact, by March 2021, 237 kids spent at least 2 nights in DFPS offices or hotel rooms supervised by CPS staff, which shows an increase from 34 kids just the prior year.
Grayson County is also seeing it share of capacity crisis. In fact, of the 150 kids in foster care, 115 have been place outside of the county. This is a tragedy for these children, as they’ve been removed from everything that is familiar to them—their families, their schools, their churches, their friends, their communities. It is vital that children be place in homes that are close to own community so that they can continue to grow vital relationships with the important adults in their lives.
The number of children without placements began to increase toward the end of 2020 and into 2021 (Graphic and data provided by the Department of Family and Protective Services)
Children should be in homes in familiar communities where they can play, be safe, do laundry, learn and study, enjoy home-cooked nutritious meals, and just be kids. Sleeping in offices or hotel rooms where there is not adequate adult supervision or the basic needs provided should not be the reality of our children. Sadly, though, it is. This catastrophe is also fueled by the lack of qualified families interested in opening their homes to children in need.
Urgent Need for Foster Families
Simply put, we need more foster families who are willing to open their homes and hearts to our abused and neglected children. Families who are interested must commit to the necessary training and invest the time and dedication needed to change a child’s life for the better. Foster families offer kids a way out of the DFPS offices and into the homes of those seeking to love, support, and care for these children.
While fostering may seem daunting, it does not have to be. Grayson County Child Welfare Board (CWB) is tirelessly working to build a community of support for all foster families so that we can get our kids into loving permanent homes they deserve. CWB helps during all phases of fostering so that we can create a village of compassionate caregivers, community supporters, and children armed with the tools, resources, and love needed to become capable, thriving adults.
While nearly everybody is aware that we have children in the U.S. foster care system, many people may not be aware how dire the situation actually is. Too many children are enduring neglect and abuse, too many children are not sleeping in beds, too many children are falling through bureaucratic cracks, too many children are suffering. The reality is WE ALL have a stake in this. If we know there is a problem with how our children in need are being cared for, it is our duty to help in any way we can. This is why May is National Foster Care Month (NFCM).
In an effort to grow public awareness, CWB has adopted the theme “We are the Village,” as we believe that we all shoulder the responsibility of our foster children. If we all come together to increase public awareness around the need for good, qualified foster families, we can begin to find viable solutions for the crisis we see in our foster care system. We can continue to grow a strong village of support for our foster families and our children in need.
If you would like to discover the many ways in which you can help, please visit our website today.
Now, more than ever, our neglected and abused children need our help. And so do our foster families. CWB is working tirelessly this month and every month to support our foster families and to grow our village of supporters. Visit our Facebook page to join our cause, to see the amazing changes we are affecting, and to share our vision with others. Our neglected and abused children appreciate your help.