TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - There is an urgent need of foster parents in Ohio and in Lucas County. Hundreds of kids are pouring into children's services due to the opioid epidemic.
Ohio's Attorney General planned a news conference for Thursday to encourage Ohioans to become a foster parents.
For the past seven years, Fatima Taylor has been a foster parent to more than 10 children. She calls it, "an enjoyable challenge."
"You have to be extremely flexible and open-minded," Taylor said.
Despite the many hardships that come with the job, it is rewarding.
"It's worth it. "Build a relationship with a child. A positive one," Taylor said. "And they can take that for a lifetime. So it's so important."
Lucas County Children Services needs you to step up and help the 900 children in its care right now. The agency only has 260 foster families and is looking to certify 400 altogether.
"I cannot underscore it. It is an epidemic, of epic proportions," Executive Director of Lucas County Children Services Robin Reese said.
She says it's driving the need for foster parents right now, as the agency is losing foster families.
"The largest group of parents we've ever licensed are Baby Boomers and Baby Boomers are retiring," Reese said.
Lucas County Children Services says they are doing every they can to make it as easy as possible for residents to become foster parents, all while protecting the kids.
"Because the need it so great, we've been very flexible," Reese said. "We have small sessions where we can make up classes."
Reese says the biggest hangup for people is just not knowing the need for foster parents, so they are working to get the word out. You have to be 21, go through the free training, plus pass a background check and home assessment.
The next training session starts Sept. 5 and goes through Oct. 12.
Another session starts Oct. 14 and goes through Nov. 18. If you'd like to sign up or have any questions about becoming a foster parent, call 419-213-3336.