Expanded Program Will Help Children in Foster Care

More than 500 East Texas kids are in foster care programs. But, now, the state is expanding a program designed to bring that number down. It is called the kinship foster care program.

The goal is to allow kids in foster care to live with extended family members or friends.

Child Protective Service agencies around East Texas are excited about the program. They believe this program would keep kids from bouncing from home to home in the foster care system.

But, for the program to work, more relatives and friends are needed to become involved as foster care givers. To help out with expenses, the state is offering stipends beginning March 1st.

Shari Pulliam, of the Texas Dept. of Family and Protective Services, said, "We are going to be offering the kinship families or these kinship placements a one-time thousand dollar payment which will help cover necessities for these families. And these families will also be eligible for a $500 stipend for three years. This will also help with taking on an additional family member."

More than 20% of kids in the foster care program are placed with relatives and friends.