Foster Parent Shortage in West Virginia

LOGAN, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A growing trend of child abuse and neglect means shelters and foster homes are filled to the max.

This is tough for agencies like Necco, which helps place children once they've been taken from their homes.

Sandy Thompson is a single woman who never thought she'd be able to have children. Now, she has full house.

“People would tell me, 'Oh, those children are so blessed to get you as a foster parent and as a mother,' but I really feel like I have become the one that's so, so blessed,” Thompson said.

Because of Necco, Thompson has fostered many children and has even adopted four of them. But even she has a limit.

“I wish that I could take every one of them. I do,” Thompson said. “I feel so bad because I have to tell them no sometimes when they call me.”

Officials at Necco say the main reason more children are being taken out of the home is because more drugs are making their way into the home.

“The increase of substance abuse, that is one of the most difficult things we deal with because we do see more children in need of foster homes,” Necco Home Resources Coordinator Rebecca Adams said.

Because teenagers are the most difficult to place in foster homes, Thompson is currently fostering an 18-year old.

No matter the age, it takes a special person to help a child who's been dealt a tough hand.

“They're very scared sometimes. They just need somebody to be patient with them, show them love, give them a home that they can grow in,” Adams said.

Currently, there are about 4,100 children in shelters and foster homes in West Virginia.

They're looking for foster parents who are dependable, patient and have flexible schedules.

Criminal background checks and training courses are required before becoming a foster parent.

If you are interested in fostering children, you can contact the Necco office in Logan at (304) 752-7830, or the office in Huntington at (304) 733-0036.

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