COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A pressing need for foster care families in Columbus is prompting local leaders to turn to churches for help.
"My own church has started a committee and we are up and running with exactly that. We already have one foster parent couple already identified," said the Chattahoochee circuit's presiding juvenile Judge Warner Kennon.
Kennon and other community leaders say the nearly 450 churches in Columbus could solve the foster care shortage overnight, by taking in one child in need.
While Columbus leaders say the number of children in the foster care system has dropped from the 500's to 424 as of last Saturday, there is still a need for homes in Muscogee County.
"We are pulling together to solve this together," said Kennon.
It all comes down to the fact that too many Columbus children are being sent to other counties since not enough Columbus families are stepping up to care for the local kids. Experts say this can put a strain on families who are looking to set their lives back on track, and get back custody of their children.
"Often times the children and the families that we deal with have limited resources and so it's very difficult for transportation between here, and say, Dalton, or Bainbridge, or wherever else the child may be placed," said Kennon.
Community leaders are also tackling the challenges of drug use by parents, which they say adds to this foster care problem.