Number of Montana Kids in Foster Care Sets Record, Homes For Less Than One in Three
In 2015, the number of children in Montana’s foster care system had spiked to an all-time high, but new numbers released last week show things are even worse today.
"The number of kids in foster care in April of 2015 was 2,200, but in December of 2015 that number was up to 2,775 kids in foster care," said Youth Dynamics Foster Parent Program Manager Katie Gerten. "Today we have 3,694 kids living in state foster care."
Sadly, though there is a surge of children in the foster care system, there has not been a similar surge in the number of Montanans willing to become foster families and things are worse in the bigger cities.
"We are still only at 1,244 foster homes, so the number of kids in foster care is growing much quicker than the number of homes we have for them to go into," Gerten said. "Judging from past numbers that we have received, Yellowstone County is by far one of the larger areas for kids entering the foster system, especially around Billings, but Misssoula is also up there, as is Great Falls."
The numbers just don’t add up: even in a best-case scenario today less than one in three foster kids would be able to find a placement in a Montana home. The urgent need for foster parents is something that can be remedied by volunteers. More information can be found at youthdynamics.org or at Montana DPHHS.