YAKIMA, WA - A Foster Care Agency with Community Resource Group says that Yakima is in a crisis because there just aren't enough foster parents.
The need in Yakima is big, but those who are willing to step up to the challenge are few, and that's why Community Resource Group is encouraging adults to become foster parents.
"Every place is in crisis right now, and the reason that we are in crisis is there is not enough foster homes for the amount of children that are going into foster care," said Brenda Sipes, Executive Director at Community Resource Group.
Sipes said that in Yakima there are 497 kids in foster care, but only 207 licensed homes, and of those homes half are only for relatives. This makes it difficult to keep foster children local.
"So what happens to the rest of those two to three hundred kids, well they have to go outside of our area," Sipes informed, "which means they don't get to go the school they have been in, they don't get to go to the park, they don't get to see their friends...and it makes visits harder," said Sipes.
The reasons why children get placed into foster care vary. Sipes says there are five: abuse and negligence, mental health issues, death of parents, incarceration of parents, and abandonment.
Although they work towards placing children in homes, their goal, like other foster care organizations, is the same.
"Foster care was never built on the premise to raise children, it was built on the premise that parents would do whatever they needed to do to get their children back," said Sipes.
The application consists of a question process, background checks, a home check, and the whole process takes 120 days.
The time it takes for a child to be placed in a foster home can range from three months to two years, but the impact left on the child will last a lifetime.