LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - An urgent plea to the Lubbock area community tonight, there’s a dire need for more foster families.
“COVID-19 has created some real hardships in the foster care system, more so than usual. We usually have hardships finding families and we’ve also had quite a few facilities across the state of Texas close. So, it’s getting a little dire,” said Erin Baxter, the Community Engagement Advisor for Saint Francis Ministries in Lubbock.
Baxter said when the new school year started, the number of children removed from homes dramatically increased.
“We usually see an increase in removals in August and September, just because those eyes are back on those kids,” Baxter said. “This year, we saw almost a double the amount of increase in removals, because they’d been home for the past six to eight months.”
If you’re willing to be a foster family, here’s how you can help:
“If they’re interested in becoming a foster parent or even just learning more like what it would take; like some of the age requirements or the home studies and that kind of thing, they would just need to attend one of our monthly informational sessions in the Lubbock area,” Baxter said.
Baxter said there just aren’t enough homes for these children.
“We’ve had a couple of kids that have come in, and they have to stay on child watch during the day, and they’ll go to a shelter at night,” Baxter said. “But it’s that kind of situation, if there’s no foster home available to take that particular child, we just have to make other arrangements. Luckily, we do have really great community partners that have the shelters here in Lubbock, but that’s not ideal. We’d obviously rather that child go into a home where they can be safe and warm and loved and it’d be a more secure family-type setting versus a shelter setting.”
Saint Francis Ministries helps both foster families and children in region one. That covers 41 counties in the Texas panhandle, and they partner with many local and area organizations like Caleb’s Closet.
“Caleb’s Closet is a clothing closet for kids in foster care,” said Director of Finance Jennifer Haddock. “A lot of times when kids enter in foster care, they either have just the clothes on their back, or clothes that don’t fit. They might be dirty, they might not be school appropriate. So foster families can reach out to us and we will prepare them at least a week’s worth of clothes.”
And Baxter said, despite the pandemic, the support and help from the community hasn’t been impacted.
“Yes, the pandemic has been tough, but we’ve actually seen quite a bit of positive giving, and really, the community support wrapping around us,” Baxter said. “We feel it.”
Saint Francis Ministries provided these statistic to explain the scope of the problem, current as of Friday afternoon:
- 462 children are in paid foster care in the Lubbock area
- 59 children listed on the Texas Adoption Resource Exchange (TARE) for Texas Panhandle/South Plains that have all rights terminated and are ready to go home.
- 89% of children ages 10 and up do not get to stay within the region
- 95% of teens in Lubbock County do not get to stay within the region
- #BringMeHome campaign is our big recruitment effort across the region
- There are 11 child-placing agencies in Lubbock who we partner with to license foster parents
- Visit Saint Francis Texas (@SFMTexas) on Facebook to find our next informational meeting to attend
- Lubbock informational meetings are every second Thursday of the month at 6 p.m.
You can find more information on their website, click here.