AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Many foster parents around the Texas Panhandle are becoming fatigued, leaving children in the system to be sent to other cities for care.
Trent Butcher and his wife have not taken a vacation in over two years. That's because there is no one in the Panhandle certified to watch their five foster children.
Right now, foster parents have put out a desperate plea for respite providers.
Respite care is provided to foster or adopted children for a three to 10 day period by someone other than the primary caregivers.
The Butcher family, like many others, work for the state and right now there are no respite care providers able to watch their children for them.
"Most people in the world get one to two weeks vacation," said foster parent Trent Butcher. "As foster parents we don't get that. We are lucky to get a day or two, so we need that to be better foster parents. We need to be able to get away and clear our minds and recharge are batteries just like everyone else in the world."
At this time, throughout the Panhandle, there are zero respite providers contracted through CPS to provide relief care to foster parents.
There are respite providers working for other agencies around the Panhandle but the number is also extremely low.
But, if those providers are not contracted with the state they cannot provide care to most foster families. The system needs all kinds of people to help provide care for these kids.
"It takes all kinds of people," Butcher said. "Just anyone who has a heart for children and just wants to take care of kids and has a passion for these kids. That's simply all it takes, someone that is willing to share with these kids and show them a better life."
About 25 percent of the kids entering the system are leaving our region because of our lack of foster homes.
Without the ability to take a break and clear their heads, many foster parents are becoming burnt out after only a few years. Which is contributing to the lack of foster homes in our region.
"Then you have your more seasoned homes, the ones that make it two years, and those homes are getting tired because there is no respite or they are tired of dealing with the system that's not always looking out for their best interest," Butcher said.
It's easy to become a respite provide and anyone with a heart for children can help these families.
If you can pass a background check and a TB test and you are willing to sign a contract with the state and become CPR certified, you can become a care giver.
If you are interested in becoming a respite provider you can call Rebecca Robinson at CPS at 806-358-6211 to start the application process.