Number of available foster homes, parents declining in Alabama

Alabama's need for foster parents
Alabama's need for foster parents
Published: Sep. 12, 2022 at 10:42 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - According to the Department of Human Resources website, there are 424,000 children in the foster care system in the United States.

In the state of Alabama, there are 5,897 foster children with only 2,360 foster homes available.

Health Connect America Director of Foster Care, Ellen Weatherford says the organization does not know why people are choosing to not foster children.

“For North Alabama, there’s not as many foster homes as there were before,” said Weatherford. Just getting the number of people interested in fostering seems to be less than it was two or three years ago. We did have a minute when COVID was going on, where people were interested, they kind of started the process but, they didn’t go through final.”

Weatherford believes the greatest need is finding loving homes for teenagers. Most potential foster parents want to open their homes to children who are eight years old or younger.

Huntsville foster mother Valdra Parker chose to open her door to teenagers.

“I think they’re at their stage in their life where they’re almost into adulthood,” said Parker. “By having the proper influences, meaning positive role models, as a foster parent can help and redirect in so misguided behaviors that they might have picked up so I think there’s still hope for them.”

Parker says she feels as though she can empathize with teenagers more.

“There’s so many things we go through, that teenagers go through as a whole,” said Parker. “Times have changed and they are much worse. They go through a whole lot more so if we can again get in there to kind of assist and redirect them, I guess that’s why I’m so eager to help them my heart goes out to them more.”

Weatherford said she is also seeing a decline in people signing up for the foster parent’s classes.

If you want to become a foster parent, you can call any of the North Alabama Health Connect America locations to find out more.