Foster parents needed

MONROE, La. (KNOE) - The Louisiana Baptist Children's Home says there's a shortage of foster parents.

They say there are about 600 children in foster care in northeast Louisiana, but less than 300 homes.

The Louisiana Baptist Children's Home says being a foster parent is a big commitment, with an even bigger reward.

"I think it's probably one of the most rewarding things you can do," Susan Nolan, director of child and family services, says.

Margie Nielsen works at the children’s home.

She grew up with foster brothers and sisters and now she opens her own home to children in the foster system. That’s how she knows exactly what it takes to be a foster parent.

"We don't want just a bed for these children,” Nielsen says. “We need a Christian home that will love them and make connections with them that helps heal the trauma that they've experienced."

She says they're looking for stable, committed people to help change the lives of these children.

"We do stress to them that every change that the child makes does add trauma to their lives and that's one thing we're trying to eliminate or at least try to minimize," Nolan says.

The Louisiana Baptist Children's Home says every child is placed in a home, even if it means sending them far away, which isn't what they want for the kids.

"They’ve already lost so much and you don't want them to lose their surroundings as much as possible," Nolan says.

They say foster parents are just like any other parent.

"They take them to school, activities they participate in church,” Nolan says. “So it pretty much acts as a home instead of a facility."

They also say it's not an easy job, but it’s worth it.

"Some of the children have outbursts. They become defiant. They just won't do what they ask you to do,” Nolan says.

Orientation is the first step toward becoming a foster parent.

The Louisiana Baptist Children’s home holds orientations for interested foster parents on the second Tuesday of every month.