By Jen Kastner
MIDLAND- A lack of foster families across the state is a crippling problem. The Permian Basin is no stranger to those concerns. However, a new program is about to take off in West Texas that can help change the entire system, allowing it to become more functional.
"The longer you stay in foster care, the more moves you have, the more in 'limbo' your life becomes [and] you're afraid to settle down. You're afraid to get comfortable," Midland High Sky Ranch's Executive Director, Jalynn Hogan, said.
Hogan says that the kids they work with often get bounced around to 13 or even 14 foster homes. Both she and the state agree that the system, as is, simply isn't working at its best.
"What we don't want to have happen is kids getting stuck in foster care and grow up in foster care," Hogan said.
Hogan says there's a frequent disconnect between all the agencies working on each child's case. The new state-approved model, which is unfolding here in a matter of months, will be working to make sure that everyone helping a child and his or her family is connected with one another so that services like therapy and courtroom proceedings are provided quickly and comprehensively.
"[It will provide] services that are needed rather than just the standard protocol," Hogan said.
Midland foster mom Amanda McDorman is planning to adopt one of the babies she's been fostering.
"It makes a big difference to wake up and see her smiles in the morning and know that you're doing something so worthwhile," McDorman said.
McDorman and her family have been a blessing to the state foster care system. Unfortunately, though, there aren't enough West Texans taking on the same responsibility. Despite the fact that people are pouring into the Permian Basin, we're still drastically short on foster families.
"It takes a village to raise a child. The community needs to come together and take care of these kids," McDorman said.