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Hillsborough County needs more foster parents willing to care for teenagers

The county has a shortage of foster parents
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Posted at 10:46 PM, Feb 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-19 23:28:38-05

TAMPA, Fla. -- About 50 people attended an orientation to learn how to become a foster parent in Hillsborough County.

The county has a shortage of foster parents with roughly 3,000 children in the foster care system.

"We have a huge need for foster families of all kind to serve kids of all ages, all colors, every demographic background," said Chalice Lusk with Children's Home Network.

Kimberly Hernandez became a foster parent nearly 20 years ago. She adopted three children and has two foster sons. She also has one biological daughter.

She said the decision to become a foster parent changed her life.

"It is the most rewarding thing I've done in my life," she said.

"When I make a difference in one child, I'm also changing the life they'll have and how they'll treat their children so it's a huge impact," Hernandez added.

The county needs foster parents who will care for teenagers and care for children with multiple siblings.

"Most of our kids when they come into foster care, rarely come in as a single child. Usually, they are attached to a sibling group of 2, 3, 4... all the way up to 11, 12, 13 sometimes," said Lusk.

Lusk said to become a foster parent, you must be 21 years or older.

"Really the only requirement is really having an open heart and being able to pass that background check and get through the assessment process," said Lusk.

Orientation is held every third Wednesday of every month. Meetings are held at Eckerd Connects on North Florida Avenue in Tampa.

People who are interested in becoming a foster parent should register for the meeting. For more information email: FGarcia@ChildrensHomeNetwork.org or visit: https://www.childrenshomenetwork.org/.