Agencies say foster care demand soaring

MONTROSE — Private organizations that help municipalities connect children in need with foster care families and potential adoption homes are struggling in western Colorado.

Carrie Over works for Ariel Clinical Services, a private organization that helps local municipalities connect children in need with foster care families and potential adoption homes. She said she and her co-workers are having trouble meeting the demand.

“A lot of the burden is falling on our foster parents,” Over said. “And more and more, we are seeing foster families who have been given too much and want to quit.”

Over said that in addition to foster homes being overloaded, some children are ending up in families “that aren’t the best match.” But she and her co-workers said it’s better than nothing.

Drug abuse, mental illness, homelessness and domestic violence have increased demand for foster care services in Montrose, Mesa and Delta counties, the Montrose Daily Press reported (http://tinyurl.com/cs7y9cq ).

Jim Jackett, child welfare program manager for Montrose County, said he and 14 others in the department do their best to keep young people out of the foster-care cycle.

“Right now, there are approximately 90 children in the system in Montrose County,” Jackett said. “About 30 are not in their parents’ care but in the care of kin, and 60 are in our custody.”

“Our driving force is reunification,” Jackett said. “How can we take care of the problems within the family?”

Jackett said that is where the problems start. If a parent is deemed unable to care for the child or children by a court ruling, the next step is to look to extended family members, even trusted neighbors, to provide primary care.



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