Foster kid numbers up throughout country

Published 1:26 am Thursday, August 18, 2016

The number of foster children in the U.S. is growing.

In fact, it grew by 13,000 children and youth to more than 415,000 from 2013 to 2014, according toe the Kids Count Data Center.

Data shows this is the second increase in many years, and reverses a decade-long decline in foster care populations nationwide.

In 2014, 37 states saw their foster care numbers increase, with Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi and Vermont experiencing the largest gains.

Statistics show that the majority of children in foster care were children under 6 (40 percent) and kids of color – 24 percent black and 22 percent Latino.

Alabama has seen a decline from 2010-2014.

In 2010, there were 5,350 in foster care; in 2014, there were 4,556. However, 2014 saw a slight increase over 2013’s 4,532.

In Covington County, the Department of Human Resources has made a concerted effort to expand foster care services.

DHR director Lesa Syler and staff have actively recruited new foster parents through engaging local churches.

In that time, they have gone from one licensed home to 17 licensed homes.

They currently have around 46 children in foster care. Five years ago, there were only three.

The main reason for the growing need for foster care locally is the drug epidemic.

“The majority of our cases have a drug component,” Syler said.

To become a foster parent, you must attend a 10-week foster parent class, which prepares you to deal with foster children and the trauma they have gone through.



The maximum amount of foster children you can have at one time is six, but Syler said in Covington County that max is usually around two or three.

Those who choose to become foster parents will receive a room and board payment each month, which ranges from $450 to $485 per month per child depending on age.

Medicaid also covers children in foster care.