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Need for foster care surges in Utah, as foster mother of the year celebrated

Need for foster care surges in Utah, as foster mother of the year celebrated (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) Utah is seeing a dramatic increase in the foster system use compared to last year, and officials say it may have something to do with a jump in drug use.

"[They’ve] actually seen a five percent increase in children coming into custody with the characteristic of substance abuse in the home," said Charri Brummer, Deputy Director, with Utah Division of Child and Family Services. That’s an increase of about 200 kids over last year. This is the largest she can ever remember, and it may have to do with an increase in drug use among parents.

Right now the Utah foster care program has 2,900 kids but only 1,300 foster homes. A desperate plea for help is going out for more foster parents. This comes on the same day that Stephanie Olsen is being recognized as foster mother of the year.

The Olsens have been foster parents for 11 years, and are now the legal parents of 11 children. They have three biological children and have adopted eight of the kids they took in as fosters. In addition to their 11 children, they have taken in another three foster children because of the huge influx of kids.

Olsen is referred to by Brummer as “an angel among us.”

How does she do it? “I just do it,” she said.

Utah Foster Care is holding a public a public open house at the foster care building at 5296 Commerce Drive in Murray.

The event gets underway at 6 p.m. Thursday where anyone who may be interested can come and ask question.

For more information about becoming a foster parent go to UtahFosterCare.org.

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