Lutheran Social Services facing foster parent shortage

Nearly every industry has been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, foster care is no exception.
Published: Jul. 14, 2021 at 5:36 AM CDT
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Wis. (WEAU) -Alissa and Art Broughton have seven kids under their roof, two foster children and several four-legged friends.

“We call it controlled chaos,” Alissa laughs.

Alissa Broughton says they pursued looking after foster children 15 years ago and haven’t looked back.

“I was adopted as a baby and it kind of was always something we wanted to do,” Broughton explains. “No matter if its just for a weekend or for the rest of their lives, its not as scary as it sounds and the paperwork it looks like a lot and the classes look like a lot but when it comes down to it , it really is just for the children.”

With more children in need of a place to stay than homes available with the ongoing pandemic, Heather Yaeger, regional director of Lutheran Social Services says they’re having to send kids out of state to find care.

“Our inquiries, our foster parents or people calling saying they’re interested in becoming a foster parent, in the first six months it almost dried up,” Yaeger says. “Every child has their own story so then when referrals come in, and we get referrals on a daily basis for foster care, we don’t have homes to place children in.”

Yaeger says if you’re thinking about opening your home to a foster child, now is the time to act.

“We have kids from all dimensions of diversity, we need foster homes that are diverse to work with the children too,” says Yaeger.

The Broughton’s adopted their 15-year-old daughter Amber over a year ago and 14-year-old son Joe when he was two.

“You get comfortable after a while and you start to accomplish a lot and you can meet a lot more goals than you would think that you would have,” says Amber.

Having been in the foster care system themselves, the two say its nice to have other foster siblings around.

“You want them to have a normal childhood, and when they come into your home, they’re coming from a place where they don’t have one, so its important for them just to be children and for us to raise them like they were no different than any of the other kids in our house,” says Art Broughton.

Yaeger wants to reiterate you do not have to be married or Lutheran to be qualified and considered for taking in foster children.

LSS has a clinical supervision team that is there to support families in brainstorming interventions when you feel stuck as well.

The organization offers resources to children in foster care as well as foster families to help ease the transition, like therapy, skill building and counseling.

They will walk you through the process and provide the training to move you forward in the process. Contact LSS at 888-746-2850 to start the application process.

Informational Meeting Times/Locations

To find out more, please call 1-888-746-2850 to meet one on one about becoming a foster parent.

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