Utah’s foster care shortage; so many children, not enough homes

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ST. GEORGE — More children are being placed in the state’s care than ever before, and a shortage of foster parents means there are more children than homes to place them in.

A plea for more foster parents was made during a National Foster Parent Appreciation Month event when playhouses were delivered to three foster care families in Washington County Wednesday.

Utah is experiencing so many children coming into foster care that the Department of Child and Family Services is having trouble finding foster homes for them, Ben Ashcraft, representative for Utah Foster Care’s southwest region, said.

These children are placed in state custody due to abuse or neglect.

Part of the reason for the increase is due to an increase in drug abuse, Ashcraft said in an interview in April.

Typically the state has had an average of about 2,400 placement spots available for foster children. However, with 2,900 children in need of care, 500 children remain without a foster family.

And that number may not go down any time soon.

“So far this year nearly twice the number of children went into state custody, increasing from 100 children to 200 per month over the last 12 months,” Ashcraft said.

“Foster parents are needed throughout Utah for children of all ages and races, especially for sibling groups of children from the same home, medically fragile children, teenagers and minority children,” according to a statement posted recently by the Utah Department of Human Services.

For more information on fostering or adopting a child who is in foster care, contact the Utah Foster Care in St. George at 877-656-8065 or visit its website.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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On – 21 May, 2017 By Cody Blowers