By Stephanie Lucero

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – There is an urgent need for qualified foster families in Texas. There are already approximately 9,000 foster homes across the state, but the number of children in foster care is nearly four times that. The greatest need is for foster parents who can also speak a second language.

Those kids who are already foster care are considered the lucky ones. They have a temporary home with someone who has been trained in how to care for them — and they may become adopted.

But some foster families could use some help. “I have 11 in my house right now,” said foster mother Sherry Hill. Changes are about to take place which are designed to make it easier for those struggling homes. Legislation passed two years ago in Austin is set to be implemented in Tarrant County and six other surrounding counties.

“The problem is, we don’t have enough foster families to provide for all the children that come into care,” said Betsy Guthrie with Lutheran Social Services of the South. They are one of a number of large agencies hoping to win a new contract with the state to place children who need a foster home. “So, the challenge was to come up with a new system and a new way to work through the system, that would benefit children and care.”

The new system requires that contracted agencies design training and programs that go beyond those already provided by the state. The goal is to bring more foster parents into the system. “We see some children that end up in 30 to 40 placements during the time they’re in foster care,” explained Guthrie. “They’re traumatized each time they move. So, we believe that, with all the extra training and support, these children can stay in place.”

Hill has take in more than 100 children over the years, and it has been life-changing for her, and those kids. “You’re their mom,” she said. “You’re not anything else. These kids thrive on love, and if they don’t have love, they’re no going to thrive.”

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