National Foster Care Month: the need for homes is always there

The number of children in foster care significantly outnumbers the amount of licensed foster homes in North Dakota.

Across the state, the need for families is always there.

On any given day, there’s more than 16-hundred children in foster care in North Dakota.
With nearly 950 licensed homes across the state, social services is always looking to recruit new parents, but also retain the existing foster families as well.

Dawn Lockrem, a family services specialist, said  “Generally speaking, what we’re seeing now is parental substance abuse and neglect.” 

Those are the two biggest factors that have 108 kids in Ward County in foster care.
That’s ten more than at this time last year.

There’s 52 licensed foster homes in the county, which Lockrem says just isn’t enough.

 “There is always a need for foster homes, we always have a need. Some foster families are military and they get stationed out,” Lockrem explained. “Some of our homes are just respite homes so they just do substitute care.”

A good amount of licensed homes are relatives of the children they take in, so they’re usually licensed to only take in their family members.

While their help is immense, social work supervisor, Amy Gray said, “we have more kids than we can serve in the current homes, locally and state wide.”

The state still needs more, including and especially PATH, which is treatment foster care for children with intensive needs.

“We’re trying really hard to keep kids in family settings versus residential treatment options when that’s possible,” Gray added.

“It can be a very positive experience, it can be very good for the families and even the kids of the foster parents themselves in learning some things about life and other families and empathy for others.”

And foster families don’t have to do it alone, the state offers 24/7 resources.

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