More children from Tulsa are sleeping away from home at the Laura Dester Children's Shelter.
DHS confirms to FOX23 that they've seen a big increase in the number of kids from our area going into state custody recently.
“Here in the last six months, we have seen a pretty big increase in the number of children who are coming into our custody,” Cortney Bolt, DHS Child Welfare Specialist III, told FOX23.
Many of those children have had to stay the Laura Dester Shelter. The shelter's license says 63 kids can stay there overnight even though there is room for more. On Thursday, 83 slept at the center.
“There hasn't been a real identified reason as to why we've had such a big increase,” Bolt said.
She did have one simple solution.
“We desperately need more foster homes.”
The agency is looking for foster homes like the Suggs house in Owasso.
“It's been the most incredible experience, I wish more people could do this,” Dana Suggs said.
The family decided to foster three young siblings 18 months ago, and on Friday the Suggs will adopt those children. It is a success story that DHS hopes many families in our area can repeat.
“The older two, we picked them up from the (Laura Dester) Shelter,” Suggs explained.
Dana and her husband Mike are giddy about the adoption, but they say they have heavy hearts knowing there are kids who have not yet found a home.
“To know that there are children in the shelter that need a home, and I can't give it to them yet, it hurts. It breaks my heart.”
One boy staying at the Shelter is a child they know very well who they'd love to bring home, but right now, that's impossible.
“With six children of our own, we just don't have room,” Dana explained.
DHS never turns a child away from the shelter and they are in the process of asking their licensing agency to increase the number of children allowed to stay at the facility, they know there's nothing quite like a home.
“Ideally, we wouldn't be in this situation because children wouldn't be being abused and neglected,” Bolt said.
For information about how you or your family can become a foster parent, call 1-866-612-2565 or visit this website: http://www.okdhs.org/programsandservices/foster/