Colorado needs more foster families

Right now, thousands of kids across our state are looking for a home. It's a big number and it's only expected to grow.

KUSA - Five of Heather Gonzales' six children were once her foster kids.
 
"I told my husband I wanted to be a foster parent and he laughed at me and said I wouldn't ever be able to let them go," she said.  
 
He was right. Last year, the family officially adopted Harmony, Nevaeh, Seth, Joseph and Anthony.
 
"We knew as a sibling group they would be separated if we didn't take them in. [We were] all they knew as mom and dad," Gonzales said.  
 
But not every child is that lucky. The Colorado Department of Human Services says our state is facing a foster home shortage with nearly 14 kids entering foster care on any given day.  
 
"There's always been a need for foster parents, but I think we're at a critical point right now," Sister Michael Allegri said. 
 
Allegri is on the Board of Directors with the Colorado State Foster Parent Association. She's fostered 71 kids over the past two decades. 
 
"It seems like there are more kids who are needing immediate placement and there are not families available," Allegri said. 
 
Right now, Colorado has more than 2,000 certified foster homes, but 1,200 more are needed by 2019 to keep up with the demand. 
 
"There's not a perfect stereotype of a foster parent," Gonzales said.  "You just have to be a human being willing to take in a child."
 
"It is not easy and it's not for the faint of heart," Allegri said. 
 
To become a foster parent you need to fill out an application with the state, undergo a background check and have an intense home study. But the good seems to outweigh the tough. 
 
"You know, it's probably the most rewarding thing I've ever done," Allegri said. 
 
"A lot of people say they don't have the patience...yes you do," Gonzales said.  "I'm not a patient person and I can do it. Now, we have a beautiful wonderful family." 

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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