Webster County needs more foster parents, according to Iowa KidsNet.
The group will hold an open house from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Second Baptist Church, 1827 Fourth Ave. S., to explain how businesses, churches and organizations can get the word out about foster care.
"There's really a need for foster care in Webster County, especially minorities," said LaDonya Chaney, Iowa KidsNet ambassador for Webster County.
"And for families to take teens and sibling groups," said Pam Bradshaw, KidsNet recruiter.
KidsNet is a statewide collaboration of six Iowa agencies which train and help support foster parents.
In a one year period for Hamilton, Webster and Wright counties, there were more than 144 children referred into foster care, Bradshaw said. In that time there were only 55 resource families.
"That was nowhere near enough," Chaney said.
"And there's a lot less now," said Bradshaw.
"We also have quite a high number of sibling groups, and a lot of times the children are under the age of 7," she said.
"If they can't find placement, the sibling groups have to be separated," said Chaney.
The open house will be an informal event with a free supper, where people can come and go. All are welcome whether they are considering being foster parents or not.
"Anybody can spread the word," Chaney said. "Even if you're not interested, you can tell others."
Bradshaw said "respite homes" are also needed - families who can take in foster kids for short periods of time, to give the regular foster parents a break, like on a weekend or if the family goes on vacation.
"It's kind of a way to get their feet wet, if they're not ready to go full-bore as foster parents," she said.