Since 2003 the number of children awaiting placement in the foster care system far outweighs the available homes. The situation is becoming dire in Louisiana, and is certainly becoming a concern for the country as a whole. “We don’t have enough parents to provide the types of services that our children really do need.” This statement from a recent article in The Times-Picayune addresses the immediacy of a problem facing many children and families.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human services, in 1980, approximately 300, 000 children that had spent some time in the foster care facility. By 2001, that number had increased to nearly 800,000 with 540,000 in the system at any given time. This figure is alarming. The drastic increase appears to stem from a variety of factors including emergence of widespread homelessness, substance abuse, mental health issues, increased parental incarceration rates, and the HIV/AIDS epidemic.