Foster kids struggling to find homes along the Suncoast
SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Young kids along the Suncoast are having a hard time finding a stable home.
“We have a huge need because we have a lot of kids bouncing between homes,” says One More Child’s Supervisor of Foster Care Ministries, Rachel Froelich.
Froelich has seen the number of foster homes in the area drop quickly in recent years.
“Pre-COVID we had over 200 homes in this area and now we just hit 130 this week. So we are at about half of what we were three years ago,” says Froelich.
These 130 homes aren’t nearly enough for the 387 foster kids in the system in Sarasota, Manatee and Desoto counties.
One More Child and Guardian Angels of Southwest Florida work together to provide essential resources like housing and food for foster families on their Palmetto campus. Guardian Angels built six houses specifically for foster families in hopes of keeping siblings together, but have opened their doors for all foster kids.
“There are so many kids in foster care that we don’t only take sibling groups. Our families will take as many kids as they can take care of,” says director of Guardian Angels, Tim Boyd.
While these houses help about 40 to 50 kids and the free market on campus helps provide for many others in the area, there is still a lot more that needs to be done.
“So many children enter foster care that whatever comes in it goes out immediately. We go through tons and tons of food,” says Boyd.
Only California had more kids in the foster care system than Florida did last year according to fostercarecapacity.com, but the supply for homes isn’t meeting the demand in the Sunshine State, which is something the organizations hope to see change.
“Just in the world now we are all about convenience and what’s easy, and it’s not easy to be a foster parent, but that doesn’t mean it’s less necessary,” says Froelich.
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