Utah has influx of foster kids, shortage of foster parents
Ideally, every kid placed in foster care could immediately be placed in a loving home for as long as needed.
That is not always possible, in large part because there are not enough foster parents to match the growing number of foster kids in Utah.
Currently, 200 more children are in foster care in the state than at this same time last year, said John Thill, western region foster-adoptive consultant for Utah Foster Care.
That’s approximately 2,900 kids in foster care, with only about 1,300 foster families statewide, Thill said. In the region that includes Utah, Summit, Wasatch, Millard and Juab counties, 615 kids are in foster care, with only 320 foster families available.
“I would comfortably say that very close to 600 kids in foster care are right here in Utah County,” Thill said.
Thill said he believes the increasing levels of addiction to opiates has contributed to the influx of kids in the program.
That means the kids coming into foster care can be harder to take care of as well, making it harder to find foster parents who meet those needs.
“There are brand-new babies coming out of the hospital, which everyone would love,” Thill said. “But they are so addicted to drugs that they have a difficult time being touched or loved — which is what they need.”. Read more of this story by