Need for foster homes grows exponentially in Montana

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Over the past 10 years the need for foster homes has continued to increase, and now is at a record high.  In September of 2017 there were nearly 4,000 children in foster care.  The amount of kids in care has nearly doubled since 2015, when the number hovered around 2,200.

The number of available homes for foster children has not grown at nearly the rate that children are entering the system.  In September 2017, there were only 854 licensed foster homes in Montana outside of kinship and shelter care.

Because of the lack of available homes, many children will experience several placements during their time in foster care.  Sadly, more than 85% of foster children will experience at least two placements in their first 12 months in care. Additionally, 33% will have changed schools 6 or more times due to moves associated with foster care.

According to Youth Dynamics Family Development Coordinator, Nicole Bergman, children in Montana travel great distances to find placement.

“I can receive as many as 15-20 referrals for children needing placement in one week.” says Bergman

Nicole went on to say, “Some children will travel 500 miles or more to find placement because there just isn’t enough homes to keep them local. The sad part is that each time these children move they often lose friends, family and social supports.  Often, these kids end up being separated from siblings because there isn’t a home with space for all of them. Many of the children that are unable to find homes will end up in shelters or group homes.”

Nationally, more than 58,000 children in foster care are placed in institutions or group homes.  This equates to approximately 1 in 7 foster children.

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To learn more about becoming a foster parent, contact Youth Dynamics through their website, message them on Facebook, or call them at 1-877-458-7022.