Colorado is facing a major shortage of foster parents, with a new analysis finding the state needs 1,200 more foster families within the next two years.
Nearly 10,000 children spent time in foster care last year, either with foster families or in group homes or residential care centers. On average, 14 children each day are removed from their parents and placed temporarily in the child welfare system, according to data released Tuesday by the Colorado Department of Human Services.
“You can be single; you can be married,” said Luis Guzman, acting director of the state Office of Children, Youth and Families. “You can own your home; you can rent your home. You can have tons of parenting experience; you can have no parenting experience. All that matters is that you are 21 years old and you are able to open your heart and your home to a child in need in Colorado.”
While there are 5,000 children now in out-of-home-placements, Colorado has just 2,000 certified foster families. The shortage means children are more likely to move to a foster family in another county, away from their school, sports teams, activities and friends. It also means they are more likely to split up from the siblings.