Foster Parent Conference - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

04/23/05 - Nacogdoches

Foster Parent Conference

by Chris Cato

To look at the crowd at the Foster and Adoptive Parent Conference, you would think it impossible that there's a shortage of caring parents. Every person there was either a foster parent, an adoptive parent, or they're training to become one. But CPS officials say they still need more.

Theresa Martinez, a Foster Home Adoption Supervisor for Child Protective Services, said, "we are always looking for foster parents."

Martinez says many people just don't think they have the right qualifications to become a foster parent. But Martinez says that just isn't the case.

Martinez said, "you don't have to be perfect, none of our families are perfect. We're not asking our foster families to be perfect, we're asking them to open their homes up to children who have a need to live in a safe and stable home where they're loved."

A stable home like Sharee Shankle's. She's a new foster parent who says all you need is a loving family environment.

Shankle said, "I love helping kids, I've been working with kids for like 8 years doing daycare and all that stuff. I love it."

If a proposed bill before the State Senate becomes law, several foster parents will no longer be able to take in children because of their sexual orientation. That could leave even less foster homes for some children, placing more strain on the agency, but CPS employees say they'll just have to adjust.

Martinez said, "as an agency, you know, we're going to follow the policy and laws that are implemented."

Martinez says whatever the Texas Legislature decides, they'll still need more foster families.

If being a foster parents sounds ideal to you, just contact your local CPS office.

The bill in question has already passed the Texas House by an overwhelming vote of 135 to 6. The measure would place a ban on homosexuals or bisexuals from becoming foster parents.

If they're a current foster parent, the foster children would be removed from their home.

Key legislators in the Texas Senate are now vowing to fight the measure that was a last minute addition to a CPS Reform Bill. Members of the Texas State Senate say they're afraid with all the attention being placed on the ban, the actual reform behind the bill could be lost.

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