Ohio witnessing statewide foster parent shortage
"We only do newborns straight from the hospital or who are born addicted to heroin or other opiates," said Courtney Finkbeiner a foster parent. She takes care of her children's needs like any doting mother.
"Everydbay we do meds 3 times a day and we're on a very strict schedule. If you miss a dose it throws us completely off."
Finkbeiner has two biological children, an adopted son and two foster children.While all her children are special, some require more attention than others. Two of her children were Ron addicted to drugs.
Lucas County Children's services says not only is a parent like Finkbeiner hard to find but it's a challenge finding foster parents in general.
"There's a shortage of foster parents and there's also more kids in Foster Care," said Robin Reese, executive director at Lucas County Children's Services. "That is due to the opiate and heroin epidemic that we're facing."
In 2016 76% of Children's services cases were opiate related and they only expect that number to increase. As of August Children's services had 900 kids in its custody, but only 260 foster homes.
The issue is so severe Ohio Attorney general Mike Dewine called for a press conference on Thursday.
"These children have one chance to grow up we must do something," said Dewine.
The federal government gives around 22 months for parents to get their kids back. But for those struggling with addiction that time often not long enough.
"By the time we get them detoxed and get them into treatment the clock had already started ticking on whether or not they can reunify with their children," said Reese.
More kids and less homes is also placing a financial burden on LucasCounty. Children's services says they're spending over a million dollars a month in placement costs, a first for the county. I'm 2016, Reese said she can recall spending half of that.
"It's like the perfect storm, more kids fewer homes."
To be a foster parent, among the requirements you must be 21 years of age, pass a background check and go through service training.
For the full list of requirements you can visit the Lucas County Children's Services Page, by clicking HERE.