Foster care agencies struggle to find homes for teens
SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- Foster care agencies are struggling to find homes willing to open their hearts to teens.
Experts say across Indiana case workers are helping as many as 100 teens per week in need of a temporary home.
That number is similar in Michigan- where teens make up more than twenty percent of those in the system.
“We were homeless. Whenever my siblings and I went into the system I became almost like a mother figure. So going into the foster system really kind of put me at a full 180 and it removed a lot of that you know need for responsibility off my shoulders cause I was still a kid," said Keegan Coomer, a former foster child.
Coomer found her forever family after being fostered at just thirteen years old.
It’s a success story licensing coordinator Terrilynn Durnal works so hard to achieve as the state of Indiana struggles to find foster parents for teens.
“People are kind of scared to take on a teenager because they don’t know what they’ve been through," said Durnal.
Despite behavior concerns, Durnal says prospective foster parents should keep in mind teens are still kids.
Just because they are learning and growing - doesn’t mean they’re in the system because of their own wrongdoings. There are a lot of factors that can come into play.
“There’s this overwhelming feeling of protecting the little children that they may have already in their home and I think teenagers just get a bad rep," said Durnal.
She encourages everyone who has the ability to foster to open their hearts to a teen in need.
“We have this as a community, we have this obligation I think to help these kids that need our help and to welcome them into our homes and give them a safe space," said Durnal.
Creating safe spaces is exactly what helped Coomer out of a potentially dangerous future.
She’s grateful despite her own behavior issues at first her foster family decided to work with her.
“It really does help when people go out of their way to make sure you know that you know you’re very well taken care of, nothing bars gonna happen to you. You don’t have to worry about anything and that you can trust them," said Coomer.
If you’re interested in fostering a teen you can visit this link here.