Foster care crunch in Round Rock

10:27 PM CDT on Thursday, May 3, 2007

By SHELTON GREEN

KVUE News

KVUE has learned that a foster child is currently living in the Round Rock offices of Child Protective Services … and there are similar examples happening across the state.

The 17-year-old who is in the state’s care sleeps in the office building and is chaperoned by two CPS case workers when he’s not in school.

Chris Van Duesen with Child Protective Services says growing case loads is the main reason the teen, who has special needs, has been calling the CPS offices in Round Rock home for more than a week.

‘It's a difficult situation and it's certainly not ideal (but) unfortunately, it's the situation we're in,” said Van Duesen.

The current teenager staying here is the second in two weeks.

“We don't have enough placements for children who have very specialized services,” said Van Duesen. “These are typically children who have either have behavioral or emotional problems or have some sort of criminal history that doesn't make them fit for a regular foster home.”

There are currently more than 4,000 children waiting to be adopted in the state of Texas. In Travis County, there are close to 200.

An ad campaign, which kicked off in early April, is designed to encourage more Texans to adopt older children, a task which gets more and more difficult for youngsters over the age of six.

“I wish it were as easy as taking a donation or finding a place or asking for more money in the state budget,” said Van Duesen. “It's just that, I don't think it's that easy of a fix.”

A regional staff of CPS caseworkers is currently trying to come up with plans on how to best provide for youngsters with special needs.

http://www.kvue.com/news/state/stories/050307kvuefoster-bkm.34691dab.html

Emphasis added by H4K Editor



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