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Michigan needs more foster parents

Michigan has a shortage. There are thousands of children who need foster families, but far fewer families willing to help.

Shereen Allen-Youngblood is a community outreach specialist at The Children’s Centerin Wayne County. She recruits foster parents, and says many people who consider becoming foster parents think they may not be qualified, when that isn’t the case in reality.

“[Some people] feel like they have to make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to be a foster parent and that’s not the case,” Allen-Youngblood said. “You only have to be 18 to be a foster parent. Even if you work at McDonald's you can be a foster parent as long as you’re willing to open up a safe and loving home.”

There’s roughly 13,000 foster kids without homes, 5,000 of whom are living in Wayne County. Allen-Youngblood says it would probably take “thousands” of new foster families to meet the demand.

Shauntay Frazier-Hall and her husband are foster parents. She says she decided to become a foster parent after temporarily taking care of some of her friend's kids. Before she became a foster parent, Frazier-Hall says she had some of the same misconceptions about what it’s like to be a foster parent.

“I thought we needed to have lots of money and lots of space but that’s not the case,” Frazier-Hall said. “Once we started the process and the licensing agent came out, she told us how we would be a good fit for several children.”

Listen to the entire conversation with Shereen Allen-Youngblood, Community outreach specialist at The Children’s Center in Wayne County, and Shauntay Frazier-Hall, devoted foster parent, above.

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