TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Last week, we reported on the East Texas fostering crisis, now we’ll take you through the steps to become a foster parent. 

Foster families are currently in high demand, and being a foster parent can be one of the most rewarding things, but it isn’t always easy.

320 Smith County children are in foster care, but only 140 families are ready to take them in.

“If you have anything to give, any ounce of love to give, you have more than most of these kids have ever had,” said Deidre Pool, adoptive mother.

Deidre Pool’s family says they weren’t looking to foster, let alone adopt, but they fell in love with two foster children at her school. Those two turned into four when they adopted their siblings. They didn’t feel ready for this challenge, but their adoptive son is thankful they did.

“A lot of kids out there that are like us and need to be adopted, and when they are adopted they may do way better at loving and stuff,” said Deidre’s son Dante Pool.

If you decide to help, there are steps you will need to follow.

  1. You will have to find an agency
  2. Take some classes to be licensed
  3. Prepare your home to welcome the children into
  4. Once you have been approved, you just have to wait for the call saying you have a placement.

“Our CPS worker was fantastic. If it hadn’t been for her, I don’t think I would have been able to handle it,” said Deidre.

When you have children in your home, community will be everything. You may never know what the children have been through, but knowing where you can get help is important. Do your research and find local groups like The Fostering Collective to help you with any needs you may have.

“You can also just do simple things like bringing meals, mowing the lawn for them or raking leaves,” said Justin Hayes, Executive Director of The Fostering Collective.

The Fostering Collective will be holding an event called Be the Light on December 7th at 6 p.m. at the KVNE radio station in Tyler at 7695 Old Jacksonville Highway. This event will be held to help community members learn more about fostering and other ways that they can help.