May is National Foster Care Awareness Month.  Governor Inslee proclaimed May as Foster Care Month in Washington state in 2020  More than 250,000 children enter the foster care system in the U.S. each year.

The Washington State Dept. of Children, Youth and Families reports about 5,500 children are currently in foster care in Washington State, a 40 year low.  Part of that may be attributable to trying to keep families together but it is also reveals a need for more foster parents.

According to the National Child Welfare Information Gateway;

  • There are over 365,000 youth in foster care in the US.
  • Approximately 18,500 youth are emancipated from foster care without a permanent family.  Youth who emancipate from foster care without permanent connections are at increased risk for adverse outcomes in adulthood
  • In 2021, 77 percent of eligible youth in foster care, ages 14–21 years old, left care without receiving the federally funded services necessary to prepare them for adulthood and independent living.

What is the current Foster parent need in Chelan and Douglas County?

There are about 140 children in foster care and about 100 licensed foster parents .  Many are only fostering for relatives which reduces the available openings for some children.  Other foster parents will only accept children within a certain age range

What is the licensing process to become a foster parent?

The seven-step process can take from 90 to 120 days to become licensed through the state.  Licensing includes FBI background checks and investigations into any reports of child abuse.  Caregiver classes include CPR and first aid training.  A home study is conducted as to suitability to foster and eventually licensing and a foster match is completed.

What are the myths about foster parenting that dissuade volunteers from applying?

Reichenberger says a lot of myths exist about who can foster parent but doing it for the stipend is not a good reason.  "I tell most people, that if you're only doing this for the money, you're not going to last.  That what I find is the majority of the people that do this, they have a heart for it. They they have there's a soft spot there for for children, and especially children that are abused and neglected. And that's why that's why they do it."

Single, married or people in domestic partnerships can serve as foster parents.  Renters are accepted as well, you don't have to own a home and residents of apartments are eligible to foster.

The general qualifications are;

  • Must be 21 or older
  • Financially able to meet family needs
  • In good physical, emotional and mental health
  • Able to provide adequate space for an additional child
  • Pass Washington Sate Patrol and Federal criminal background check
  • Must be a permanent U.S. resident

What makes a good foster parent and family setting?

"You've got to be able to love the kids. I think there needs to be a strong commitment. Especially with children in foster care. It's not going to be you know, an easy road all the time there's going to be ups and downs. There's going to be challenges that come along. But these children need somebody that's going to stand by their side and is going to be dedicated and committed to their cause. And to help them course the goal of course of foster care is to try to return that child back to the parent"

--Greg Reichenberger,   FosterFirst

How can interested families learn more before they consider fostering?

A virtual Foster Care Information session will be held Wednesday, May 28th from 6pm - 7pm Call FosterFirst at 509-965-5310 or register at

Another session will be held on May 30th at 6pm at Sage Hills Church in Wenatchee.

NewsRadio 560 KPQ logo
Get our free mobile app

LOOK: Grilling Mistakes Send Millions To The Hospital

From gas explosions to internal bodily damage, these are common mistakes many make with their grills that may send you to the hospital.

Gallery Credit: Mike Brant

More From NewsRadio 560 KPQ