BRYAN, Texas — There is a high need for parents to help home children in foster care in the area. A local foster agency is helping us understand the need here in the Brazos Valley.
Case Manager Supervisor Kadie Thompson with Renaissance Family Services says they have seen more families come in to inquire about fostering.
“Peak times for kids coming into care is actually when school starts because the teachers are seeing the kids come back to school and that’s when a lot of hotline calls are being made because there are more eyes on kids that are in need of CPS intervention,” said Thompson.
Thompson says there is also a need for respite homes when families go away for summer vacation and need someone to watch their kids.
“We have a huge need for respite homes during the summer,” said Thompson. “We do like probably 80 percent of the respite needs that we have are from May to August.”
Respite families are required to get certified, and one local mom has been known for helping many families in the Brazos Valley during the summertime.
Thompson says you have to be certified to help with respite and this is where the Palmer family steps in helping many families locally.
“When we moved to Bryan/College Station, we knew it was time,” said Summer Palmer, a local foster parent. “We just wanted to open our home to kids who needed us just for a little while.”
Palmer says taking the required trainings are an important step in fostering.
“You really need that time and effort to put into the training to be ready to do some of the things that foster care requires,” said Palmer. “Paperwork, court, parent visits, doctor’s visits.”
Palmer lives in Bryan and says her road to fostering was a journey.
“My husband and I had two kids and then we had a miscarriage,” said Palmer. “My husband is so sweet. He said we do not have to try again. He said there's a lot of kids that need families and then we got pregnant just like that and had three more boys.”
Palmer says when she and her husband moved to Bryan, it was time to foster, and now they’ve been foster parents for six years and have a family of 10, with ages ranging from two to 21.
“I’m currently responsible for eight,” said Palmer. “My husband and I made five of them, and then we adopted my nephew when he was 16, and we have two foster kids right now and they are not related to each other.”
Thompson says finding homes for older children and siblings has been a challenge.
“Specifically, sibling groups and older children are harder to place just because families feel more comfortable working with younger kids frequently, so if anybody has a heart for older children, we definitely need families for them,” she said.
With fostering, Palmer understands kids being reunited with their biological families is the overall goal.
“The goal is always reunification,” said Palmer. “None of that is up to us. We love you in the gap...it’s our job to take care of you right now as long as God says we get to have you.”
Palmer recommends if you are not quite ready to become a foster parent, you should consider becoming a certified babysitter as they are also in high demand.