BECKLEY, WV (WVNS)– Across the state, the need for foster parents grows by the day. In the mountain state, more than 7,000 children are within the foster care system.

“So it’s definitely at a level where I would consider it an actual crisis,” said program manager at Braley and Thompson Foster Care and Adoption Center Tina Gray- Russell. “Right now we have more children than we do foster parents.” 

According to Gray- Russell, there are thousands more children in need of homes than there are foster families. She says there are many factors that lead to the shortage, one of them being a lack of knowledge about how the foster care system works. 

“You really just provide a true public service by giving any child,” Gray-Russell said. “Whether they’re related to you or not, a loving and caring and safe home in our community.”

Gray-Russell, who has fostered multiple times, said the teamwork between fostering agency, family, and child creates a bond that not only benefits the child in need but the family giving back as well.  

“As you change that child’s life they can also change you to make you a better person and to be a better parent and make a huge impact on that child’s life possible for the rest of their life,” she added.

Braley and Thompson have classes and seminars available for anyone interested in learning more about fostering.  They are also holding a blanket drive for children within the system.  For more information click here.