GARDEN CITY, Kansas – It has been a tough month for foster care after several criminal cases involving foster parents. Statistically speaking though, these types of incidents are few and far between.
Anna Silva has been a foster parent for 16 years. She and her family have housed more than 100 kids in that time.
“If they’ve grown up in, not the greatest environment, it gives them another option,” said Silva. “We are very relaxed, and we just, whoever is here is a part of our family and they do everything we do.”
But with recent events in the spotlight, advocates worry the negative attention will set back foster care in Kansas.
“It is a very difficult time. We have to try that much harder to get the positive message out there for people to see we have this great need,” said Callie Remschner, Director of Juvenile Justice Foster Care.
Child abuse or neglect involving foster parents is very low in Kansas. The Department of Children and Families said it accounts for only 2% of such allegations in the state, and the need for good foster care parents is greater than ever. In Kansas, there are over 7,000 kids in foster care, and there are about 2,600 homes that are licensed to take them.
“There’s always a rising need for good homes to take care of children that have gone through trauma,” said Kathe Decker, Deputy Secretary of Family Services.
Silva said anyone can help with that need. “It’s not that hard, it’s a little adjustment, but it’s just rewarding to know that you’re helping to change someone’s life,” she said.