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More foster parents needed in the Baton Rouge area

Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 1:39 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 14, 2021 at 1:45 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) -There are more than 200 kids in foster care right now in the Baton Rouge area, according to the department of children and family services.

Since the pandemic began, 260 children entered foster care for the first time.

“Across the state we only had one instance of children having to enter foster care because of the death of a parent or caregiver, however, what we have to keep in mind is that Covid has caused tremendous stress on families due to lack of employment, illness, stressors from lack of daycare, not attending school, all of those stressors have led to children entering care as a result of those stressors,” DCFS foster care expert Beth Green said.

As the stress of the pandemic has built up, for some children, it’s led to being abused or neglected by parents. These children are taken to the Children’s Advocacy Center, where they are interviewed and meet their new guardians.

“We have a lot of our children come through from ages 3 to 17 that have experienced sexual abuse, we have extreme physical abuse,” Kaliko Harris, a forensic investigator and family advocate for the CAC said.

But COVID-19 has created a shortage of foster caregivers.

“Especially with the onset of covid, when things were still so unknown and wanting to protect families and the numbers rising, that did affect the recruitment of foster care givers ... There’s a tremendous need for families willing to open their hearts and homes,” Green said.

But for families who decide to bring kids in foster care into their home, those families make all the difference.

“These are children that, they may not have had that nurturing part from the family that they’ve been with so it’s really important for them to have families that are able to provide that nurturing piece,” Harris said.

CAC officials said the ultimate goal of foster care is to eventually be able to bring the kid back to their parents.

According to DCFS they are in most need of foster parents who can care for three or more children, so they don’t have to separate siblings.

There is also a need for foster parents who are certified to take care of older kids, from ages 15 to 17.

More information on foster care, and how to become a foster parent, can be found here: http://dcfs.la.gov/page/foster-parenting

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