TOLEDO, Ohio — Lucas County Children's Services is facing a shortage of 115 foster families. They need 400 foster homes, yet they have just 285.
Because of the foster family shortage, LCCS has to look to other networks for homes. Kids are sent to foster networks in surrounding counties like Ottawa or Fulton, sometimes even as far away as Hamilton County (Cincinnati).
This process drains LCCS resources and funding more quickly, as it costs the agency more money to place kids outside Lucas County.
Drugs and the opioid crisis have compounded already difficult home lives fraught with abuse, neglect, mental health issues, and/or domestic violence.
These kids don't sign up for this. They don't want to be taken from their families, Sherry Dunn explained. Dunn works for LCCS, helping numerous families become successful foster and adoptive families.
To help combat the shortage of foster families, Lucas County Children's Services are teaming up with Toledo-Lucas County Public Library. They'll host 'Becoming a Foster Parent', seminars to help families understand the need and see what it takes to foster children.
"We let them know that they can do this. They're not doing it alone. There are many supports out there, that we're going to be a big support," Dunn said.
Currently, LCCS needs families to foster babies, sibling groups, and babies and kids with medical and behavioral needs. There's also a growing number of kids between the ages of 7-14 entering LCCS care.
"We talk to them about how they're making a difference in a child's life, and how they're giving a family a second chance, or maybe even how they can increase their family and be a forever home for a child," Dunn said.
Another issue children's services faces is the loss of a foster family once that family adopts. Dunn explained that often families stop fostering once they've adopted a child. While LCCS is thankful, she explained, the community still needs foster families.
If you'd like to attend a 'Becoming a Foster Parent' session, here is the schedule. No registration is required.
Becoming a Foster Parent
(Tu) Jan. 14 | 6 p.m. | Mott Branch
(Tu) Jan. 28 | 10 a.m. | Lagrange Branch
(W) Jan. 29 | 6 p.m. | Reynolds Corners Branch
(Th) Feb. 20 | 7 p.m. | Holland Branch
(Tu) Feb. 25 | 6:30 p.m. | Kent Branch
(Tu) March 31 | 7 p.m. | Maumee Branch
(Tu) April 28 | 6:30 p.m. | Locke Branch