Foster kids need your help

Thursday, August 8, 2013 - 6:45pm

"They can't make it," said Karen Vaughan. "They can't buy the school supplies, they can't buy the school clothes."

You would have to use both hands to count the number of grandchildren Karen Vaughan has, and although she has already been a parent once, she is currently finding herself filling those shoes once again.

"My husband and I took custody of our four young grandchildren last September," Vaughan said.

She is happy to care for her grandchildren instead of watch them get placed in a home, but she says it can be a financial struggle.

"Anytime you add four new people to a household," Vaughan said. "It puts a strain on the budget."

This situation is all-too-common here in East Texas, and it is only getting worse.

Child Protective Services said this is because the population of Smith County has grown so you also see a increase in neglect.

Plus, with the economy getting worse, financial stress can lead to abuse. And 85 percent of the cases have drug or alcohol as the main problem.

Just over a year ago there were around 200 children in foster care and now the number has climbed to 337.

This is an increase the Smith County Child Welfare Board cannot afford.

"While the funding has gone down, the number of children has almost doubled," said Jennifer Reynolds, SCCWB member.

This board provides school supplies for each child and gives them an allowance for new school clothes, a service they have provided for years.

But, that may disappear if the community does not help pitch in.

"We just really need the communities help to support these children."

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