San Luis Obispo County is reporting a severe shortage of foster families during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The county's Department of Social Services (DSS) says it averages 270 referrals per month to its child abuse reporting line, and while that number has dropped slightly under shelter-at-home orders, the severity of the reported abuse has increased and those children need to be moved into safer environments.
However, many families that regularly open their homes to foster children are temporarily unable to do so because their age or health has put them at risk.
DSS is looking for individuals and families who can provide homes on a short term or long term basis -- 3-6 months or 6 months or longer. In particular, the county needs homes for children age 10 and older, including teens and young adults in extended foster care who have lost on-campus housing. The county is also looking for homes that may be able to quarantine a sick child.
Foster families receive guidance and financial support from the DSS. To learn more about fostering a child and to offer help, you can call (805) 781-1705 or visit www.slofostercare.com.