FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May is National Foster Care Month
AUSTIN, Texas – May 5, 2014 – Today, Foster In Texas (FIT), a program of Lutheran Social Services of the South (LSS), is launching a recruitment campaign during May, which is National Foster Care Month, to address the urgent statewide need for foster families capable and willing to foster infants, sibling groups, special needs children and teens.
“Every child deserves a loving home,” said Murray Chanow, Foster In Texas Statewide Recruitment Director. “Each year, thousands of Texas children need to be placed in homes where they can feel safe, secure and nurtured. Foster parents are the bridge to a more hopeful future.”
National Foster Care Month provides an opportunity for people to focus attention on the year-round needs of children in foster care and encourages people to get involved in the lives of these youth. Currently, Texas is experiencing an urgent need for foster homes.
There are nearly 31,000 children in foster care in Texas now, a number expected to rise significantly as the state faces an unprecedented increase in the number of unaccompanied minors crossing the border each year due to growing political unrest and violence in Mexico and Central America. According to a report released by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in January, the number of unaccompanied minors coming to Texas could climb as high as 60,000 in 2014. More than 40% of the children in foster care in Texas are Hispanic; 30% are anglo and 23% are African American with nearly the same amount of boys (53%) and girls (47%).
The desire to help children in need draws people to explore foster parenting. By becoming a foster parent, people are giving kids a second chance at childhood. Being removed from their homes and placed in foster care is a difficult and stressful experience for any child. In their role as foster parents, they can help these children heal and move on from the life that led them there.
Foster In Texas foster parents report that they receive a lot of satisfaction watching their foster children progress and succeed and find their work highly rewarding. Some foster parents even become interested in fostering to adopt should a child become available. And while financial reimbursement makes foster parenting viable for many, it is rarely a primary consideration.
“The Foster In Texas team is the most highly regarded in the state with a reputation for having the most knowledgeable, effective case workers,” said Kurt Senske, CEO of Lutheran Social Services of the South. “Our program touches the lives of 900 children in foster care each day through our 14 offices in cities throughout Texas. We recruit the best families in the state and care for them by providing training, support and resources.”
Clara Williams, a FIT foster parent from Austin, says, “I could go on and on about how well FIT takes care of the children and their foster parents. I try to recruit other foster parents to try to come on board with the best and most loving agency.”
Potential Foster In Texas foster parents are screened through a series of interviews, background checks, training and home visits. Eligibility guidelines include:
- Must be 21 years of age or older – May be single or married (if married, must be for a minimum of two years)
- May be retired or employed – No history of abusing a child or an adult
- Must be emotionally and physically healthy
- No criminal history
A home screening/study and safety inspection is conducted before the first placement of a child. The entire verification process takes an average of three months.
For people who can provide a safe and loving home and want to make a difference in the life of a child, additional information about Foster In Texas and becoming a foster parent is available:
- By Phone at 1-877-747-8110 (English) or 1-844-348-1015 (Spanish)
- Online at www.fosterintexas.org (English) or www.fosterintexas.org/espanol (Spanish)
About Lutheran Social Services of the South
Lutheran Social Services of the South is committed to ending multi-generation child abuse in Texas through innovative children’s services, including foster care, adoption and residential treatment. LSS is a 501(c)(3) faith-based nonprofit organization that currently serves more than 32,000 individuals in need annually, including children, the elderly, the disadvantaged, and those affected by disasters in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma.
Contact: Rae Bazzarre, The MACH 1 Group for Lutheran Social Services 512-524-0331; [email protected]