KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. -- The Klamath area needs more foster families.
That's according to several agencies. Every Child Oregon is an agency that works to support foster families and Department of Human Services caseworkers. It's trying to expand to Klamath County, and help fill the foster family gap.
On a scale of 1 to 10 on how badly the area needs more foster parents, Anna D'Olivo -- a foster home certifier for DHS -- says it ranks a 12. She adds they really need families that can take siblings.
"People who can accommodate a newborn don't necessarily want an adolescent [sibling]," D'Olivo said. But she adds trying to keep siblings together is immensely important.
"Keeping siblings together is huge. I mean you've already lost your parents, and now you're going to be placed potentially in a home that maybe you're not even family with," D'Olivo said. "Just that trauma alone is super hard."
Friends of the Children of the Klamath Basin is another agency that helps support kids. They pair children with a mentor that supports them from kindergarten through 12th grade. The executive director of the organization says 40% of the children in their program have experienced the foster system.
The district manager for the Department of Human Services, Jeremy Player, says he was the one that connected Every Child to Friends of the Children to help it expand. His office works with both agencies to support not only foster parents and kids, but also DHS caseworkers.
He adds turnover among caseworkers is high, and Every Child's support of them is invaluable.
"The reality is if we can keep caseworkers in a very difficult job -- a job I would not want my kids to be in, because they're going out there, dealing with pain every single day -- if we can keep them, and they can work with families, we will be successful."
Friends of the Children of the Klamath Basin had its annual fundraiser Thursday night, where it typically raises a third of its revenue.