Finding a Family Part 1: Need for Foster Families

FAIRMONT, W.Va. (WDTV)-- Katherine Huffman knows firsthand the importance of foster families.

"I was about two years old with my brothers and sisters and we were placed in foster care. I always said when I was growing up that whatever it took I was going to be a foster parent myself," said Huffman.

Fast forward to now where Katherine is currently fostering three kids. She took classes with the National Youth Advocate Program to help prepare for her new additions.

"We took classes from August until December and then I got licensed in January and we received our first set of children the day that we got licensed," said Huffman.

Katherine said opening up her home is the best decision she has ever made, but many more families are needed.

"Nationwide we are averaging two children per minute going into care. West Virginia is at a rate of 5.3% above the national average of 3.2%," said Allison Burnell, Foster Parent Recruiter and Marketing Coordinator.

Those at the National Youth Advocate Program said the process for fostering is simple.

"You must be 21 or older, you can be single, you can be married, you can be a stable cohabitant. They are required to be financially stable. You can't be receiving any state assistance. Aside from that, just being in good mental and physical health. We do provide the training here at no cost and we help you through the process of background checks," said Burnell.

But if you are not ready to take on the responsibility, you can still help.

"You can be a mentor. You can be a volunteer. I really believe that this is a society wide issue and we truly need society to step up and help these kids," said Burnell.

"You can teach them that it is okay, life goes on after the situation that you have had, and life gets better," said Huffman.

For more information on becoming a foster parent, you can visit the Related Links tab to your right. You can also call 304-366-5832. Foster parent information packets are available at the NYAP and 24/7 support is provided.