Urgent need for foster parents in Chautauqua County.

Posted at 7:44 PM, Jan 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-20 11:07:55-05

The Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is now asking the public for help because of an urgent need for foster families.

There are currently over one hundred children in foster care but only 68 certified foster homes "which isn't enough to meet the needs of children coming into foster care," said Melissa Emke-Gehling from DHHS.

Children who need foster care can range in age from infants through age 18 and represent all cultures.

While some children have special needs, many just need stability and kindness.

To become a foster parent in Chautauqua County, you have to be at least 21 years old; you can be single, married, or living with a partner; have sufficient income to meet one's own family needs and be in good health.

Because of safety concerns, foster families have to go through background checks but the county does provide training and stipends for expenses.

DHHS officials emphasize that foster families try to work closely with birth families when possible.

Those interested can call DHHS at (716) 661-8212 for more information.

7 Eyewitness News Reporter Ed Reilly spent the day in Chautauqua County talking to officials about the need.  

Ed also talked with some current foster parents about their experiences including a couple from Ellery Center (Near Bemus Point) who had fostered 125 children since 1988.