Utah program needs more loving foster families
(KUTV) The Utah Foster Care Foundation, which matches families with children in the state foster care system needs more loving foster families. Currently there are 2700 children in the state foster care system and only 1300 foster families.
The biggest need is for families who are willing and able to take in groups of siblings. Most foster children have been removed from homes where there has been domestic violence and or substance abuse. The children are often abused themselves so the state tries really hard to keep them together.
"If you have your siblings around you, it makes things a whole lot less scary," said Dan Webster of the Utah Foster Care Foundation.
Four years ago, foster parents Janet and Doug McLain took in two brothers ages 4 and 1. Two years later, they adopted the boys. Later, they adopted a toddler girl who is now nearly two.
"I just always wanted to do it and help children out an kind-of pay it back for my foster parents," said Janet who was adopted by her foster parents.
Janet said she grew up in a home where there was abuse and she feels her foster parents gave her safety, security and love - it helped her eventually graduate from college, earn a Master's Degree and start her own family.
She and Doug want to give the children they fostered the same life opportunities.
Doug said it's very rewarding to watch the boys thrive. They initially struggled in school, but are now succeeding.
"They've gone from not being at grade level to being 50 out of 50 on the end-of-year math test. Wow," she said.
For people who wonder whether they can foster and foster siblings, the McLain's said most foster parents find a way to make it happen. They feel fostering has enriched their lives and their older children have enjoyed influencing the lives of the younger ones.
They admit, finances can be a burden to some foster families - especially if they have to put the children in daycare while they work. Foster parents are given stipends to help with expenses, but those stipends are small.
The Utah Foster Care Foundation offers trainings and informational meetings for parents who are interested but not sure whether they are right for fostering. For those who do, adopting foster children is not a requirement. Thirty to forty percent of foster children are adopted by their foster families. The others are reunited with their parents when their family issues are sorted out or resolved.
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