Rising number of Texas foster kids left without homes

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — A crisis in Texas is highlighting the shortage of foster care families leading to a growing number of children left without homes.

Children in Austin and across the state are forced to eat, sleep, and shower in state office buildings. Joining us in the studio to give an in-depth look at the issue is Travis County Judge Darlene Byrne.

“These kids have gone through your worst nightmare being abused or neglected by the very people that are there to protect them,” said Judge Byrne. “They’re very frightened, they’re very scared, and certainly, they want a safe and loving place to be.”

A room full of clothing, in case the children didn't have any clothes with them after they were removed from a home. (Courtesy: DFPS)
A room full of clothing, in case the children didn’t have any clothes with them after they were removed from a home. (Courtesy: DFPS)

Child Protective Services says the influx of foster children without placement occurred after several Texas facilities closed down. So far in 2016, there have been 579 children removed from their homes in Travis County due to abuse or neglect. Last year, there were 744 children removed from their homes in Travis County.

At the end of May 2016 there is a total of 1,074 children in foster care. Almost half of those children from Travis County have been placed outside the county because there aren’t enough foster homes.

Here is a break-down of the number of children sleeping at least two nights in state offices across Texas. These numbers are from December 2015 to April 2016.

  • Dallas: 67
  • Houston: 42
  • San Antonio: 18
  • Austin: 7

Local resident, Chylain Krivensky, has two biological kids and two foster kids. She became a foster parent through the Settlement Home for Children and says she loves being a mom.

“The best part is just knowing you’re that safe place. That you are able to be there and give them the hugs and the cuddles that they need right then and there,” said Krivensky.

People interested in becoming a foster parent can learn more at the CPS office at 14000 Summit Drive, July 12 at 6 p.m. Click here for information on how to get started.

“Austin, we can do better for out kids than this. We do better for dogs and cats with animal shelters than we are doing in this situation,” said Judge Byrne.

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