By Britt Moreno
DENVER (CBS4)– Colorado is experiencing a shortage of foster parents with hundreds of children in foster care in need.
Based on an analysis done by the Colorado Department of Human Services, the state needs to increase the number of certified foster homes to 2,500 by July 1, 2019.
Luis Guzman spoke with CBS4’s morning anchor Britt Moreno on CBS4 This Morning to discuss this desperate need.
He tells Britt over the last year the state’s Human Services department has had to “place 10,000 children in out-of-home placements which includes family foster homes. We’ve seen that number steadily increase.”
These are also called group homes. That is where dozens of kids wake up each morning without families, not knowing if they will wake up in the same place tomorrow.
Guzman says “you don’t need to be a perfect parent.”
Adults 21 and older can be single or married. They can rent or own homes. They can be old, young, a part of the LGTBQ community or be heterosexual. All that matters Guzman says is “that you are willing to open your heart and home to a needy child in Colorado.”
He says the state prefers to mirror the child’s ethnicity to his or her foster family. Therefore, they specifically need African American, Native American and Hispanic families. The state also needs parents willing to accept sibling groups, because they prefer not to split up siblings.
To achieve that goal of increasing foster parents, state officials are hoping to recruit 1,200 new foster families, and retain about 75 percent of current certified foster families.
There are support networks that will help foster families. For instance, a family does not have to pay for medical care.
Guzman tells Moreno, “we are just looking for people to help out the neediest children. The most vulnerable children. They say you can’t change the world, but you can change the world for a youth who is in need of a loving and supportive home.”