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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) – Ohio, like many other states, is seeing an increasing number of children in the foster care system.

That’s largely due to the opioid crisis.

Substance abuse has led to more and more children in unsafe or unstable home environments.

When they can’t be placed with family members, they go to foster homes.

Now, there is a greater need than ever for foster parents.

Katerina Papas with Summit County Children Services (SCCS) says there are more than 800 children in just that county in agency custody and fewer than 200 licensed foster families.

SCCS is holding an open house event for people who might be interested in fostering.

You do need to register in advance by February 20 by calling (330)996-1080.

More information on the event here.

It’s at 6 p.m. on February 27 at 264 S. Arlington St. in Akron.

The Need for Foster Parents

According to SCCS, there is a particular need for foster parents to care for:

  • Newborns and toddlers
  • Sibling groups (brothers and sisters who should remain together)
  • Teenagers (12 and older)

Qualifications to Become a Foster Parent

To become a licensed foster parent, you can/must be:

  • Married, single, divorced or widowed;
  • With or without children of your own;
  • A renter or homeowner;
  • 21 years or older;
  • Employed or a stay-at-home parent – as long as your income can adequately meet your household needs;
  • Committed to caring for children;
  • Able to accept children as they are;
  • Able to provide support and be a strong role model of positive family life.

More information on the requirements here.