Foster parents needed in Kentucky

While your kids are returning home from school, thousands of children in Kentucky don't have a safe home to go to.

The youngest of Willa Suggs' 10 children is two years old. 

"I would never, ever change the way that we have built our family," Suggs said.

She built her family by fostering children before becoming an adoptive parent.

"There is never a dull moment in our house," she said.

Shawn Johnson supervises a team that recruits and trains foster parents for the state in the lakes region. The lakes region stretches from Fulton County all the way over to Todd County. Johnson says more parents like Suggs are needed.

"There's never not a need for foster homes. You can never have too many," Johnson said.

She says out of more than 500 children the state has custody of in the lakes region, there's 175 foster homes.

"That's not a lot," Johnson said.

Johnson says many people don't know how to become a foster parent. It's a process done through the state that includes classes and background checks. She says the process can be make or break for some families.

"It gives kids a safe place to be while their families are working out their problems and dealing with their issues," Johnson said.

"Our lives are so enriched from being able to have all those children in our home," Suggs said.

It's something Suggs would never take back.

Foster parents do receive a paid a daily allowance. That rate depends on each child and their needs. Recruitment supervisors say this payment is the minimum amount parents would need to meet that child's daily needs. They say it's not enough to raise a child. However, foster parents can certify for some tax credits and tax breaks.

Informational meetings on becoming foster parents will be held at two locations next month. One will take place Sept. 1 at the Department of Community Based Services office in Mayfield. The other is set for Sept. 8 at the Hopkinsville office. Call the Department for Community Based Services at 260-247-2979.

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