Alpine Churches Working Together to Fix Foster Parent Shortage

By Cierra Putman
NewsWest 9

ALPINE - It's tough being a foster kid, but on Tuesday night a group of churches in Alpine did their part to hopefully ease some of the pain for local foster children.

They think getting the word out may be the key to making their lives a lot easier.

Trauma, abuse and parents behind bars are just a few of the many burdens children in foster care have to shoulder.

But in Jeff Davis, Brewster and Presidio counties there are zero foster homes.

That means those kids not only have to leave their homes, but also their hometowns. And sometimes they have to go far away.

"As it is, it's already traumatic that they're going into a foster home, but the problem is that we don't have any have any foster homes in the Alpine, Marfa and surrounding county areas," CPS Faith Based Recruiter, Ruben Ochoa, said. "And we have to transport many children to El Paso, which is 3 and a half hours away to a different community, different culture, different schools. And there really is no reason why we shouldn't have foster homes (here.) So I'm imploring the community of Alpine, Marfa, Jeff Davis; if you have a spare room, open your home and your heart to the children that we serve."

When Alpine's Ministerial Alliance learned how bad the situation was they decided to take action.

"Average folks just go through their lives and they don't really see children during the day," Rev. Jane Vaughan with the Alpine Ministerial Alliance said. "They don't really understand and they don't really know anyone. So, it's not that they don't care, they just don't know."

Married or single it doesn't matter; you can still become a foster parent as long as you're 21 or older, willing to go through some training and able to pass criminal and child abuse background checks.

Ochoa says the job isn't easy, but it's worth it.

"It was a decision that I didn't regret," Ochoa said. "That's the thing about becoming a foster parent, it might be difficult but you'll never regret it, you're going to treasure it for the rest of your life."

Vaughn thinks bringing the kids' struggle to light will prompt people to step up to the plate.

"This is a community, as is Marfa and Fort Davis, that care about their own and will step up when they're needed to," Vaughan said.

Ochoa hopes the area will eventually have five to seven foster homes.

He plans to come back to Alpine to do more presentations.