84ºF

State in desperate need of foster parents living in rural communities west of Bexar County

Recruitment works best with face-to-face meetings, specialist says

SAN ANTONIO – The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services is desperately looking for foster families in rural communities west of Bexar County.

How a San Antonio foster care campus is getting creative amid COVID-19 pandemic

Cheronda Tillman, a foster care and adoption recruitment specialist, said it has always been challenging to recruit in rural communities. Since the pandemic began, that job has been made more difficult.

“It’s always been an issue trying to increase capacity when it comes to finding families that reside in those 27 counties surrounding Bexar, especially turning our attention to our rural west,” she said.

The counties in the surrounding include Bandera, Dimmit, Edwards, Frio, Gillespie, Kendall, Kerr, Kinney, La Salle, Maverick, Medina, Real, Uvalde, Val Verde and Zavala.

Tillman said recruiting works best in face-to-face meetings at festivals, churches and community gatherings in those rural counties, but with everything shut down, those meetings haven’t happened.

“We have found it very difficult to be able to reach the communities there and let them know that we are still functioning. The need has not changed,” she said.

Tillman said she has had to adapt to new recruiting methods, such as holding virtual meetings and advertising at businesses with flyers or in local papers. However, in rural communities recruiting is more personal, she said.

For Tillman, the calling to find loving homes for foster kids is personal. She was in the system herself.

“I can fully understand and empathize with those who age out of the system without a sense of permanency,” she said.

Tillman said she is looking for people to foster children who are between 0 to 22. She says anyone who has a willing heart and an open mind can learn to foster.

“Upwards -- somewhere around 200 children will come into the foster care system each and every month. The problem is we’re not licensing 200 homes every month, and that’s when you will see that upside down,” she said.

To find out more about how to become a foster parent or to adopt, call 210-337-3117 or 210-337-3528.


About the Authors: