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More children but fewer foster homes…

The need for foster parents and qualified homes is always great, but this past pandemic year has made the situation more critical than ever. The number of newly licensed foster parents reached a new high in 2019.

When Covid-19 hit in the first quarter of 2020, however, the availability of new foster homes across Tennessee, Kentucky and North Carolina dropped dramatically throughout the rest of that year.

This was not a good sign — especially since the number of children in state custody has not dropped. In fact, in many cases it has increased.

Current Foster Care Data for TN, KY, NC:

  • More than 8,000 Tennessee children are currently in foster care. Approximately 350 children are awaiting adoption.
  • In Kentucky, nearly 9,300 youth were in foster care as of December 2020. 
  • In North Carolina, more than 10,400 youth aged 0-18 years were in foster care as of March 31, 2021.

Not only did the pandemic present significantly increased health concerns and economic stresses, but the necessity of lock-downs, quarantining and isolation meant unstable or volatile home situations often became even worse for its youngest members.

Hence, the alarming (but not unanticipated) increased risk for neglect, abuse, mental health issues and safety concerns — and more children needing to be removed from their biological homes.

Omni Visions Adapted Quickly During Covid

Omni adapted quickly for Covid concerns, working closely with state and local agencies — including each state’s departments of children’s services and departments of health — to update our processes accordingly.

These included using video conference systems for the majority of visits with children, foster parents and biological families as well as a screening questionnaire to ensure no one had been exposed prior to community visits.

We are also asking our staff and visitors to use masks for face-to-face visits and social distancing in those meetings. (And we will continue to provide this kind of intensive support to ensure everyone’s safety for as long as it takes.)

Still, the pandemic and all its related uncertainties seemed to put a hold on so much.

There is a Need More Licensed Foster Parents

The bottom line is, we now have fewer people applying to become foster parents and going through the process to become licensed. So, we are asking for your support. If you or someone you know has been giving serious thought to fostering a child, there is no time like the present.

Omni will have your back every step of the way. We always have.

Unique Support Foster Parents Can Expect From Omni:

  • Training, techniques and tools supported by research to help you learn the ins and outs of foster parenting
  • Trauma informed care, training and support that treats the whole child by considering their past trauma, how they coped and what behaviors resulted
  • Financial assistance to cover costs associated with fostering children
  • Small group parenting classes and foster family support groups 
  • Medical support including assistance finding physicians and scheduling appointments for your foster child/children
  • Behavioral health referrals and support (since every child who comes into foster care has experienced some level of trauma)
  • 24 hour, 365 days per year access to our highly skilled support team. You’ll never wait long for a returned phone call.
  • Respite care so you can take a break yourself!
  • Quarterly community-building special events for foster parents and children. Whether it’s a yummy picnic, ice cream social or a trip to the ballpark, we believe strong communities are central to fostering success. 
  • Foster-to-adopt support if you decide it’s the right choice for your family

Are you ready to open your home… and your heart? Start your journey here.