Austin foster children in urgent need of ‘forever home’

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Did you know there are currently 179 children in Travis County awaiting adoption and 9,723 children in the state who are waiting for their forever family?

It’s numbers like those that have inspired the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to make a change. Tuesday, A Child Protective Services summit will be held to address the urgency of locating permanent homes for foster children.

Last year, more than a thousand foster youth between the ages of 18 and 21 left foster care without finding a ‘forever home’. Although that number is down from 1,700 foster children five years ago, the Summit highlights the work being done by child welfare stakeholders including judges, attorneys, child placing agencies, CASA and other advocates.

Austin resident Michael Whitley just turned 21, which means he is now out of the foster care system. He had been in foster care since he was 8-years-old, but says it’s the best thing that could have happened to him. Now he’s in college at Austin Community College and is a foster care advocate. He’s one of many speaking at Tuesday’s summit. Michael’s hoping his story will prove that foster children and teens need to have a connection with a case worker who can be an influence in their life, especially when they age out of the system.

“When you have that one person that really cares for you and really wants to see you succeed that really makes a strong impact. I think about my old case worker, Ashley and she really pushed me. After my first year of college I was like I’m just gonna work and not go to school and she was like no you have a goal and you need to achieve it,” Whitley said.

The summit is Tuesday October 13, 2015 from 10:00 a.m.-3:45 p.m. at the Center for Child Protection located at 8509 FM 969 in Austin, Texas.

For more information on foster care and adoption services, visit the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services

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