Agency Says Local Foster Families Needed

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With three kids, ten grand kids, and four great-grand kids, Barbara Scott is used to taking care of a big family. Scott and her husband have even opened their home in Holt to foster children over the past six years.

"We're just advocates," said Scott. "We keep pushing, pushing, and pushing for what the kids need."

Right now, the Scotts are taking care of a 13-month-old little boy and a 20-month-old little girl. Scott lights up when describing the two kids.

"She's just a sweetheart, she just latches on," Scott said. "She's learning so much, so much."

And that's exactly the type of progress Nancy Oliver, a child welfare director at Child and Family Charities, says they love to hear about.

"It's just amazing to see them grow and develop," said Oliver. "And foster parents are the vital, key, essential component of that growth and development, providing those safe, loving and stable homes."

There are about 14,000 Michigan children in foster care throughout the state at any given time, according to the Department of Human Services.

Lansing-based adoption and foster care agency Child and Family Charities says there are just not enough foster homes in Mid-Michigan, making it a struggle to place kids in loving, stable homes and to keep siblings together.

Child and Family Charities provides for about 104 children in foster care, but only has 77 licensed foster homes. The group says it specifically needs more volunteer families to help care for minority children of all ages, teens, and sibling groups.

"Here in the capital area we struggle to place children anywhere from zero to 17,18 years old," said Oliver. "There are just not enough homes to provide for these children when they have to be removed from the care of their parents or caregivers due to issues of abuse and neglect."

A coalition of agencies in Mid-Michigan provide the required training and education for people who want to become foster parents. Potential foster families also have to go through a home study process and background checks.

Many people think you have to be married or own a home to be a foster parent, but that's not the case. Oliver says you really just need space in your home, and space in your heart, to take care of these children.

Scott says she will continue to help provide for as many foster children as she can, while hoping to inspire others to become foster parents.

"As long as we're able and healthy," she said. "Yes, we would."

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