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West Texas foster care agencies helping CPS workers care for children without placement

Texas has seen hundreds of kids having to sleep in CPS workers' offices the past two months.

MIDLAND, Texas — When CPS can't find a foster family for the children they're helping, their next step is a licensed emergency shelter for up to 90 days, sometimes longer. 

If that isn't an option, they move to their last resort, CWOP spaces. These are unlicensed placements for children without placement and CPS workers care for these children in these places. 

This is the situation Buckner Midland is currently finding themselves in.

Agencies like Buckner Midland, High Sky and Fostering Restoration Ministries are helping our children.

"They're coming from a bad situation, a bad home environment or unforeseen tragedies and so we want to make sure we have homes and that family connection and that familiarity within their community of something that's temporary," said Jennifer Bernal, Buckner foster care and adoption supervisor.

But in the last two months, they've been getting overwhelmed by demand.

"Due to COVID, there are a lot of different resources and different community involvement that has slowed the process down a little bit and so with that we're having a shortage of foster homes, and so we're having kids in the community that are having to stay at the local CPS offices," Bernal said.

Offices-you read that right.

Buckner Midland recently stepped in and took in two children without placement.

"We had a sibling group that stayed with us and they were only here for one night, but we never know how long they're going to stay with us. They don't share that information because it could be just for one night or it could be for a couple of weeks," Bernal said.

They also don't know how long this will last and if they'll be getting more kids.

Luckily, these two found placement only after one and a half days. But Buckner is prepared now.

Staff members had to convert their storage area to a livable apartment, a temporary solution to a bigger issue.

"It's not enough. We need more foster homes in our community, we need more community involvement to support this crisis that we're having," Bernal said. 

Buckner Midland can house four children without placement, and if there's overflow Lubbock can house four more.

There are currently four kids in the emergency shelter at High Sky. 

The foster care community in West Texas is having a benefit concert on May 14 to raise awareness and funds to help with this problem. The event started at 5:30 p.m. at Grace Fellowship in Odessa.    

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