AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - A shortage of foster parents has hundreds of children without a place to call home.
About 16,000 children are in foster care in Texas and 12,000 of them have been in state care for a year or longer.
This makes the demand for foster parents high and it hits home in the Panhandle.
Arrow Child and Family Ministries say child protective services sends out anywhere between 25 to 30 child referrals a day asking local agencies to help find foster homes. This can be a struggle in Amarillo where there are around 200 to 300 foster homes currently licensed.
"There are more kids in CPS right now than ever before, and then you have some facilities that are decreasing or are closing due to the age of the facility or their inability to care of some of these kids," said Clay Thomas, the agency's statewide director.
Thomas said the problem is so severe for Amarillo agencies that he estimates 100 children are sent to other counties or even states a month due to the unavailability of foster parents.
The Presbyterian Home for Children reaches out to foster parents in and around the state of Texas hoping to find parents who truly want to foster and will stay committed.
"A large portion of our foster parents have come from across the nation to become a part of what we are doing, and our hope is that they will come and stay for three to five years," said President Darrin Murphy.
According to Murphy the first year for a foster parent is the toughest, especially when a lot of foster homes can hold as much as 8 children, but most agencies provide counseling and assistance to ease some tension.
For anyone wanting to become a foster parent or volunteer, the licensing process can take anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks to complete.
An application and background check must take place along with a home check before a foster care license is given.