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There's a critical need for more foster parents in Maryland

Arc Northern Chesapeake Region
Posted at 5:02 AM, Jun 04, 2024

BELCAMP — There is a critical need for foster parents.

It’s a need felt across the state.

In Maryland, there are roughly 4,000 children in foster care. The harsh reality is there are more foster kids than there are homes.

Arc Northern Chesapeake Region in Harford County is putting out a desperate plea for people to sign up to be foster parents.

Cynthia Brown and her husband have been foster parents for nearly 20 years.

Over the last two decades they have fostered about 20 kids and adopted six.

Brown knows how crucial it is for kids to have a home.

“There are more children out here and young adults that are victims of their circumstances, neglect, abuse. You run into kids that have been prostituted," said Brown.

That’s why Arc NCR in Harford County is urging more parents to sign up to be foster parents.

“We have so many kids in DCS right now in hotels, sitting in hospitals. They don’t have a parent checking on them each day to see how their day was at school," said Brianna Palmer, a social worker from Arc NCR.

Palmer is a social worker with the Arc NCR. She says so many kids need help with things many people take for granted.

“They don’t have anybody that’s trying to help them drive, getting their permit, so they’re just sitting there," said Palmer.

Looking at data from fostercarecapacity.com, there were over 4300 hundred kids living in foster care in 2023 in Maryland.

While there were less than 1500 licensed foster homes in the state.

Steve Acerno is the director of Family and Children Supports for Arc NCR.

He says in Harford County they have nearly 200 kids in foster care.

Many of the kids don't have anywhere to go.

“Part of the issue is that we have kids that need homes in every age group. We have little kids. We have older teenagers. Right now, the greatest need is for teenagers," said Acerno.

Foster families get a monthly stipend to help with cost. Plus, kids in foster care receive free health care.

Brown has a message for any parent interested in becoming a foster parent.

“You need to really pray and make sure that’s the direction you want to go into, and you know what, you got to take the first step," said Brown.

If you’re interested in taking that first step, you can fill out an application.

You will then go through an extensive background check.

For more information, you can visit:arcncr.org