Alabama counties need more foster care homes

Alabama counties need more foster care homes
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Alabama counties are in need of foster care families. The goal is to help keep children in the same county where they lived.

Karen Smith with the Department of Human Resources said having several homes to choose from can help place kids in a fitting home.

"The more homes we have the more likely it is to maintain these kids in their local counties," Smith said.

There are more than 6,000 children in Alabama's foster care system and around 1,800 foster care homes in the state.

The Department of Human Resources said more homes are needed in each county to accommodate these children and to help them stay connected with their communities.

But when there are not homes available, the children sometimes need to relocate. Onya Myhand, the Autauga county director for the Department of Human Resources, said relocating can be difficult for children who have endured traumatic experiences.

"By them having to be placed outside of their county, you are removing them from what is familiar to them," Myhand said.

The department works to keep them in comfortable environments.

"We want to build those resources in those communities so our foster children can stay in their same churches, in their same schools, with their same friends," Smith said.

A 2015-16 U.S. Children's Bureau report said that there were safety concerns in 8 percent of foster homes. However, some children do remain with their parents for in-home services. Thirty-two percent of these in-home-service homes have safety concerns.

The department did not specify the exact number of homes needed, but it is working to recruit families by sending mail outs and participating in community events.

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