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  • Writer's pictureFostering Christmas Team

Idaho Urgently Needs New Foster Homes

Foster care is an essential service for children who can’t safely remain in their homes, but it depends on the availability of qualified volunteers. Unfortunately, Idaho sorely lacks foster homes to cover children’s needs. While the demand for foster families has frequently surpassed the supply, a recent investigation by CBS2 found things are getting worse. In 2023, 45 fewer foster homes in Idaho were available than in 2022.

With more than 2,600 foster children in the system, every resource counts, and the decline in foster homes has a real-life impact on those who need somewhere to live. Children without a traditional foster family must live in group settings. Reportedly, 106 children are currently placed out of state for lack of other options. Others live in short-term rentals; that care cost Idaho $1.6 million in 2022.

A foster family or lack thereof can be the deciding factor in a child's future.

Administrator of Family and Community Services Cameron Gilliland told CBS2 that the largest deficits in foster homes are for older children and foster kids with developmental disabilities. “We have a lot of foster families interested in young children,” he said. “We definitely want to keep them, and we want more of them. Where the deficit is now is with the older children.”

No matter a child’s experience inside their family of origin, leaving it behind is usually a traumatic experience. It’s only worse when they don’t have a dedicated, caring home to go to. A foster family or lack thereof can be the deciding factor in a child's future.

Every loving new foster home makes a difference for a child. If you want more information about becoming a foster parent, you can request more information from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. There is no obligation during the information and orientation portion of the process, so if you suspect you might be a good fit, there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain by learning more.

Meanwhile, those who can’t accept a foster child into their homes full-time can still make a big difference. Foster children often feel overlooked and forgotten, but we can remind them that people care during the most magical time of the year. A gift on Christmas morning can provide a beacon of hope for a child or teen who might otherwise think no one cares.

We can’t wait to begin this year’s Fostering Christmas gift drive late next month. Stay tuned for more — lists will arrive sooner than you think!

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