State facing foster home shortage

By Liliana Castillo: Freedom New Mexico

Ten years of being foster parents in Nebraska wasn’t enough for the Stacys. Four months ago, the couple became foster parents again in Clovis, filling a need every community deals with, Marti Stacy said.

Stacy said the couple learned from a friend that the area was short on foster homes for children.

“I don’t think it matters where you live. I think every community is hurting for foster parents,” Marti said.

And she’s right.

Children, Youth and Families Department Foster Parent recruiter Renee Fitts said Curry County is in need of 10 foster homes for the area’s 53 foster children. The area has 23 currently, 11 of those taking in relatives only. There are 30 children in foster care spread between 15 homes in Roosevelt County.

“A lot of our families go on to adopt, which is always a good thing, but then we’ve lost a foster home. We always need to replenish,” Fitts said. “All of our children are in a home, but the homes are full to the brim.”

Fitts said the licensing process to become a foster family can take four to six months and is used to determine if they are ready to be foster parents. Fitts, who is also a foster parent, said it can be difficult to bring children into your home and to let them go. Families go through background checks, CPR training, pre-service training and a series of interviews.

“We kind of get the family’s story. It’s a life-changing experience,” she said. “Our kids have been abused and neglected so we really want to educate our families. We want to make a good match so the kids don’t have to be moved over and over again. That just adds to the trauma.”

The Curry County CYFD office is hosting an orientation about foster and adoptive parenting 6 p.m. Wednesday to help recruit families in the area.

Fitts said foster parents will be on hand to talk to interested families.

“Who best to answer their questions?” she said.

Stacy said she or her husband, Brian, will be at the open house. Stacy said most people ask about letting the children go.

“It is hard. But they are back with their family and it’s OK,” she said.

By the numbers
Roosevelt County Curry County
15 foster homes 23 foster homes
6 children from ages 0-2 in foster care 12 children from ages 0-2 in foster care
7 children from ages 3-5 10 children from ages 3-5
10 children from ages 6-14 26 children from ages 6-14
7 children over age 15 6 children over age 15