By Wyatt Goolsby
MIDLAND COUNTY - A spike in kids at High Sky Children's Ranch in Midland County has directors looking for help and answers. Their emergency shelters are nearly full with neglected or abused children. Now, they're trying to figure out why.
"We're almost at capacity, at this particular point in time," Shawna Bowerman, the Emergency Shelter Project Director at High Sky, said. "It's tough to tell why."
In the last ten months, High Sky has stayed pretty busy. Their two emergency shelters have nearly reached the maximum 41 children, who come directly from violent or dangerous homes.
"We've had it open for almost four years now, the placements are up and down," Bowerman explained. "Sometimes it is due to the economy. When we are having problems in the economy, sometimes our numbers increase. Sometimes it's just situations that occur."
Bowerman says its almost come full circle after last year's decrease in children. This year, however, it's hard to predict who and how many High Sky will take in.
"We have a lot of children under the age of five," Bowerman added. "Which is very different for us. Typically, our kids are school aged, and we have a big group of children who are under the age of five."
Because of state rules, High Sky has doubled their staff to take care of more children.
Bowerman said with or without the increased numbers, High Sky will continue to take care of all the children at their facility, and do their best to keep siblings together.
"And that's been really, really great because our kids seem to ease into the program a little bit better, their anxieties decrease a lot quicker when they have some family members and some support here on site," Bowerman explained.
High Sky officials say there are probably multiple reasons why they've seen the increase, but don't have a single smoking gun. They are looking for foster families who are willing to adopt. For more information, call 432-699-1466, or visit www.highsky.org.