Palm Beach County experiencing critical need for foster parents, advocates say

Palm Beach County experiencing critical need for foster parents, advocates say

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — There’s no shortage of people voicing their willingness to adopt a newborn baby girl who was found alive in a dumpster in suburban Boca Raton on Wednesday.

But there’s a process if you’re looking to give a neglected child a home.

"We need to be very sure that children are going to be safe and well taken care of either by foster or adoptive parents," said Larry Rein, President of ChildNet, a private non-profit organization that helps place abused, abandoned, and neglected children with foster parents.

For the first time in five years, Rein said Palm Beach County is at a critical point.

"We’ve had to send children outside of Palm Beach County because we don’t have the capacity to care for them here," said Rein.

Rein said the process for fostering and adopting in Palm Beach County is similar. Prospective parents must go through weeks of training, a background check, and home studies.

"Right now, available for adoption with no parent identified in Palm Beach County there are 69 children, ranging from 3 to 17 years old," Rein said.

While newborns are often the first children people ask about, Rein stressed there’s a need for foster parents for older kids as well.

"Especially in Palm Beach County, we need foster parents and adoptive parents for teenagers," said Rein.

215 children in total are available for adoption in Palm Beach County, according to ChildNet. Rein said there’s no cost associated with the process, just time.

"In this arena you want to have children moving towards permanence within 12 months. But adoption may take it past that 12-month period," Rein said.

To learn more about fostering a child, visit ChildNet's website by clicking here.

To learn more about adopting in Palm Beach County, click here.

Copyright 2019 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.