LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Clark County foster care system is dealing with a surge of infants and is in need of more foster homes.
There are currently around 3,000 children in the foster care system and so far this year more than 460 of them are under the age of 1. During all of 2021, there were 793 children under the age of 1 in the system.
“We’ve seen a trend of more infants coming into care than we have in the past. We are trying to get ahead of that since it can take a few months to go through the process. If we put a call out now, we can get families through and get ahead of the trend,” said Jennifer Erbes, Department of Family Services.
County leaders are asking the residents to consider becoming foster parents.
“In life, there is no greater gift than opening your home to a child and making them a part of your family,” Commissioner William McCurdy II said. “I strongly encourage anyone who has ever thought of becoming a foster parent to reach out to our Department of Family Services. These families and these children need us to give them a safe and loving home.”
Anyone who wants to become a foster parent must undergo special training, background checks, and home inspections. The process can take several months. Once licensed, a foster parent can be compensated for caring for a foster child. The average compensation is around $700. Also, keep in mind medical costs are covered for the child.
It’s hoped by recruiting foster parents now, there will be more foster homes available later in the year if the high number of infants continues.
Henry Aquino and his wife became foster parents in 2008 and have helped more than 30 kids.
“These kids have gone through a lot of trauma and difficulty. Depending on the gravity of the situation and how long you have them when that moment comes and they give you a smile or laugh with you. That is when you realize you’ve gotten their heart and mind. It hopefully improves from there and towards getting them back to their home,” Aquino said.
The county also needs foster parents for larger sibling groups, with three or more children, and those who may be able to care for a child with special medical needs.
Although the ultimate goal of the foster system is to reunite children with their birth parents, sometimes it can take a significant amount of time. Currently, there are 3,400 children in the system.
If you are interested, you can visit ClarkCountyFosterCare.com, email Countmein@ClarkCountyNV.gov, or call (702) 455-0181.