Foster Parents Needed; Laura Dester Center Files to Increase Capacity Limits

The Department of Human Services is pleading for more homes to foster children. It saw a slight increase in the number of children needing its services this week.

"We have applied to increase our capacity with our license, and it does look like that is going to be approved very soon," said Foster Care Specialist Brooke Demers. The Laura Dester Children's Center cared for 74 young people Friday when the current licensed limit is 63. That does not mean the facility is overcrowded, but it does mean there is a greater need for adults to foster.

"We need foster homes," said Demers. "Our emphasis has really been on trying to recruit foster parents that can deal with children that have emotional and behavioral needs."

DHS said there is no known reason for this slight increase in young people requiring help. However, it said there have been more siblings recently, so that could be a factor. Demers said many of them have experienced abuse or neglect.

Channel 8 spoke with one woman who took in two little girls this week with her husband and daughter.

"We think of all of them as our own," said Jennifer Trexler. She and her husband moved to the area about two years ago and began fostering children shortly thereafter. They have housed more than a dozen. She said most of her experiences have been very positive.

To become a foster parent, DHS runs extensive background checks and candidates must attend 27 hours of classes. You may find more information here.

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