By Abby Reed
MIDLAND – A local foster care agency is actively recruiting new foster parents. Officials with Pathways Foster Care Agency in Midland says they have qualified parents, but they don't have enough to meet the demand of children in the Permian Basin.
"We're having to send them (children) out of the area, out of the region, because we don't have enough to meet the needs of the children in Region 9," Julie Walts, an employee with Pathways Foster Care Agency, said.
In order to become foster parents, applicants must go through a background check and specialized training.
"We want people that are willing to open their homes and their hearts to other children and provide them with a safe home," Walts said.
Holli and Eric Kounce are foster parents with Pathways. They have seen more than 25 children go through their home in the past 11 years.
"We're just a mom and dad, we do the same things every day. We just provide structure, safety and peace for some of these kids who just need a safe place to land for a little bit. We have the privilege of being part of their story," Holli said.
Over the years, the Kounces have seen children who have come from difficult backgrounds but they say anyone can chance a child's life.
"It doesn't take rocket science, it doesn't take a degree in social work, it doesn't take a lot of money. We're not extraordinary, we are a normal, average, every day family," Eric said.
Together, the couple said they encourage other families to open up their homes.
"You do not need to be an extraordinary person. You need to be an ordinary person, just like us," Eric said. "Open your home, open your heart, and when you do that, and become a foster parent, you're going to find out you're on the receiving end. You'll see a kids life change."