Community responds to Foster Home shortage

TRI-CITIES, Wash. — There are children in our community in desperate need of homes and a support system.

Action News told the story of one foster parent in Benton City. Since then, 20 people have reached out the agency, Service Alternatives, to ask for more information.

Kathlen Wierschke loves kids.

“I love everything about being a parent,” Wierschke said. “Except chores. That’s the hard part.”

She loves them so much, the mom of four is on her way to becoming a foster parent.

“I don’t do it because I think it’s going to be easy,” she said. “I do it because it’s going to be worth it for someone else.”

Wierschke said she decided to sign up when she learned how many kids don’t have a home.

“Urgent. I felt urgent,” Wierschke said. Like, let’s get the paperwork in!”

Wierschke and her family will be doing foster to adopt.

“I’m really hopeful,” said Kim Northrop, foster care licenser. “I’m meeting with a couple people this week that actually want to turn in their applications.”

Foster parents can do traditional fostering, foster to adopt, or respite care–which is more short-term.

Wierschke said the paperwork was daunting but doable.

“Adding people into your home is hard work,” she said. “But it’s harder to realize these kids are living in hotel rooms.”

To become licensed you have to go through a background check, go to training like CPR and first aid, and get a home inspection.

“Fear is always the thing that holds people back,” said Bobbi Clawdus, area manager of licensing. “but we’re here to assure people that we’ll walk you through it.”

Employees at Service Alternatives said the whole process usually takes 90 to 120 days.

“There’s not a limit on love,” Wierschke said. “I don’t think love is only extended to biological children.”

Wierschke said they’re nervous but excited to soon bring someone new into their family.

Becoming a foster parent is free, and adopting through foster care is also completely free.

For more information, click here, or call (509) 783-0758.