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Adoption is up in Monterey County, but so is the number of foster kids

Foster families needed

SALINAS, Calif. - This little boy was born into the world unwanted by his biological mother and father, and after court today will more than likely be part of the foster care system. A system that has more than 400 kids in it already. 

"One of the first priorities is to  see what are the natural resources for families what can we do to make the situation safe for the child to stay at home. Can we work with the family? Can we put a safety plan together that will allow for that? That's not always possible," said County of Monterey Department of Social services - Family and Children Services, Deputy Director Lori Medina.

And when it's not, then they try to keep the kids local, however that's not always the case. There are not enough foster families for the amount of foster kids.

"We are struggling right now for finding enough placements for children. We are going in a direction, moving away from group homes but we do need more homes for children," said Medina.

But that's easier said than done, especially here on the Central Coast. 

"The cost of living here is really high, so to meet the requirements to become a caregiver can be challenging for people who have a hard time to make rent themselves or enough space for their own family," said Medina."
 
Susan Derichsweiler is an adoptive parent to three and has the tough job of finding foster parents. 

"Foster care has been my passion. I had my own son in the system and from there I decided I wanted to help other children," said Derichsweiler.

That is what Derichsweiler has done for the past ten years. Seeing the good, bad and ugly side of a system that has been built on broken families. 
 
"There's a few challenges and that's working with the birth parent in the hopes that they're going to get their parents back and when they don't  then you switch into the adoption mode, because these kids are going to be your family," said Derichsweiler.

In 2016 more than 600 children were served in foster care and 82 adoptions finalized.

"When we're placing those placements they're sticking. People are making permanent  commitments to children so we have seen our adoptions almost double in the last couple years," said Medina. 
 


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