Youth leader

‘Laser focus’ needed on host families, says Bexar county chief

Texas is experiencing a shortage of 1,000 foster care beds. The region surrounding Bexar County needs 250.

SAN ANTONIO – There is a shortage of 1,000 foster care beds in Texas. This is according to SJRC Texas.

In and around Bexar County, the number of children in need of a home is expected to increase with the start of the school year.

KENS 5 takes a closer look at the problem and what is being done about it.

“The system is clearly down in the state of Texas,” Bexar County Commissioner Trish DeBerry told colleagues on Tuesday following an annual review by the Child Welfare Board. “There has to be a laser focus on foster care.”

Right now, more beds are needed to serve children who need a safe place. This shortage exists not only in our region, but throughout the state.

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In response, heads of state and organizations joined together and created the Blue Ribbon task force.

“We are looking specifically at foster care, which is called ‘phased care’, which is basically the root cause of the crisis we are in right now,” county commissioners Marcie Treviño told Tuesday. Ripper, chair of the Bexar County Child Welfare Board. . “Children with high needs didn’t have enough places to go and they went to regular homes or other regular residential centers, and that was disrupting the whole system.”

Tara Roussett, CEO of SJRC Texas and member of the Blue Ribbon Task Force, helps children find their families forever.

She says that with the start of the school year, she expects the number of children in need of foster care to increase.

“The teachers, the community are really the first line of defense in noticing when things are going wrong in a child’s life,” she explained. “When (everything) was closed, there weren’t as many reports because there just weren’t the people who had their eyes on them making the reports.”

According to the SJRC, the region is short of 250 foster care beds, affecting 28 counties.

“The trauma these foster children have suffered due to their abuse and neglect is only getting worse by the day,” Roussett said.

These children who have suffered trauma need “progressive care”.

“Not a hospital setting, but a less restrictive gradual (method) to surround these children and give them the mental health services they need,” she added.

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To help fill the gaps, SJRC plans to expand its network by working with other state organizations to place more children.

They also offer specialized training for foster parents as well as allowances for foster families to help them earn a living wage.

The SJRC is also launching a recruitment campaign for foster families.

“It’s going to take all of us to resolve this crisis,” Roussett said.

To learn more about how you can donate financially or by donating essential items, visit the SJRC website. You can also learn more about how to become a foster parent.

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