DCFS experiencing 'critical' shortage of foster homes for teens

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) – The Department of Children and Family Services says it is experiencing a severe shortage of foster families for children ages 14-17.

According to DCFS, Louisiana has 4,147 children in foster care, 634 of whom are ages 15 to 17. However, there are only 117 homes willing to take in teenagers in the state. They believe this is due to misconceptions about teens in the foster care system.

“That our teens in foster care are different from our teens who we parent alone. I think teenagers, no matter where they come from, need the guidance and support of a loving person,” said Kerri Byrd, child welfare manager overseeing foster recruitment. and support from DCFS.

Adoptive mother Sarah Jackson has been fostering children for almost 30 years. She says she took in children of all ages, but stopped counting after 200. Many of them were teenagers.

“They hear that the children are violent in your house and they are afraid to open their house. But if they could just reach out and touch a child's heart, it could make a difference,” Jackson said, “They need someone and a home they can call home. self. So that’s what’s rewarding, I love it. I'm just being honest with you. I love it. My children can tell you that I love what I do.

DCFS says its goal is for the number of foster homes to exceed the number of children in the system, so they can find perfect matches instead of just an open room.

“We were able to look at our families and determine who will be able to provide the best possible care for this particular child,” Byrd added.

You can find more information about becoming a foster parent on the DCFS website.

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