Western Iowa is in desperate need of foster families. There are over 4,000 kids in need of foster homes in the state. The shortage is so dire that it’s causing some children to be housed in shelters. According to Janee Harvey, Chief of the Iowa Department of Human Services Child Welfare Bureau, the increase in children being removed from their homes is due to widespread drug abuse and an active criminal justice system.

There is an extreme need for a diverse array of foster parents, including those who are African-American, Hispanic, and Native American. As always there is a particular need for parents willing to accept siblings, teenagers, and children with special needs. Chris and Sue Stanek recently became foster parents to help siblings stay together. Chris says, “If you think that you have an interest in it, just act on it and talk to someone about. When you realize the need, you realize it’s really worth it.”

Four Oaks Foster and Adoptive Family Connections was contracted by the Iowa Department of Human Services to recruit, train, license, and support foster and adoptive families. They work in conjunction with the state to ensure there is a home for every child in the foster care system. They understand the challenges of foster care, but strive to keep siblings together, provide secure homes for teens, and find adequate care for infants and toddlers. They have many resources for foster parents, including a photolisting for children who are available for placement and adoption.