Lamar County and its surrounding area is faced with an urgent need when it comes to foster care in our community, and CASA for KIDS and United Way of Lamar County have partnered together to provide a Foster Family Information Fair this Saturday.
CASA for KIDS serves more than 100 children in its three-county service area (Lamar, Red River and Delta counties), and there are less than 10 foster homes to accommodate foster children locally, according to CASA for KIDS Executive Director Clint Hocutt.
“This means that when kids are removed, they are sent out of region – if there are any foster homes available at that time in the metroplex or even as far as San Antonio or Houston,” Hocutt said. “If there are not any foster homes available, children are sent to shelters or hotels. This is not okay.
Hocutt said there needs to be foster homes available locally to ensure Lamar County kids are kept in Lamar County.
Sarah Spencer’s family has been a part of fostering since she was a child, and often-times she’s forgotten some of her sibling were adopted. When it comes to fostering, she said there is going to be risk in everything they do.
“But in fostering, the risk is worth it,” she said. “Attachment is worth it when you consider all that these children have been detached from without a choice. The children in our county absolutely need people to step up and fill the gap so these kids don’t have to spend another night with a caseworker or potentially in a shelter hundreds of miles away from everything they know.”
Having adopted three children through foster care – growing her family to seven members – Spencer said foster children can “quite literally have no one.”
“With my home and heart full, I hurt for the gap that isn’t being filled and I’m calling on our community to please step up,” Spencer said. “We did have the privilege of growing our family through adoption, though it wasn’t the original plan.”
Spencer said fostering doesn’t have to mean adopting, as many families choose to foster until the children go to their forever homes – whether it be reunification or to adopted parents.
“There is no difference of love between blood and adopted siblings or children,” she said. “Sometimes I forget that my adopted kids weren’t born to me. We have fought through some traumas and it wasn’t – sometimes isn’t – always easy, but I can definitely say it’s always been worth it.”
Currently ordering a class ring and planning around prom for her oldest adopted son, Spencer said she can’t help but wonder “if he’d have the “normal” junior and senior experience if we didn’t foster and eventually adopt him.”
“I think that I have the passion that I do because I grew up with that as my ‘normal,’” she said. “I’m glad that my parents weren’t scared to expose fostering to us by opening our home. It gave us the tools we needed to do the same.”
Hocutt said CASA for KIDS is beyond excited to partner with United Way to provide the foster home information and recruitment seminar at 10 a.m. on April 8 at the Love Civic Center, 2025 S. Collegiate Dr., and implores everyone to attend.
If you have ever had even the slightest desire to foster, now is the time. If you are interested and can’t attend the event, call CASA at 903-737-4346 for more information.
“There is an urgent need for foster homes in Lamar, Red River and Delta counties.”