FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Foster care providers and agents say a shortage of foster homes is creating a big problem. They are having to separate siblings because there aren’t enough foster homes to allow them to be kept together.

Terrilynn Durnal, a licensing coordinator at the National Youth Advocate Program (NYAP) is raising awareness for those who have the opportunity to become foster parents in Indiana.

Durnal says homes for teenagers, pre-teens, and siblings are in greater demand than the system can currently provide. The NYAP is looking for more foster homes to meet that demand to avoid having to send foster kids to group homes or other last resort options.

Jeffrey Guy is another licensing coordinator who lives in Fort Wayne who also works for NYAP. He says “It’s super important to keep siblings together. There is study after study that shows kids staying together will help them throughout their whole journey. We try to keep siblings together as much as possible.”

He said that it wasn’t just siblings that struggle to be placed, but teens as well.

Guy continued to emphasize the need of foster homes saying, “Today alone I probably looked at about twenty referrals I was not able to place. Mostly Teenagers, mostly sibling groups”

Due to the pandemic, the process to register for a foster home is more expedient, and the process takes between 30 and 60 days.

“Foster families always get to pick the children that come into their home. Our goal is to make the best fit for our foster families, and for our children,” Durnal said.

Those who are interested in becoming a foster parent must pass a few qualifications that Durnal listed out…

  • Must be 21 years of age
  • Must be able to financially support a family without a foster income
  • Must have 50 square feet of bedroom space for a child
  • Need a medical recommendation, including immunizations (non-Covid)
  • Pass background checks

If this interests you, you can find out more and apply with the NYAP here.