LOCAL NEWS

Gov. Cox calling on Utahns to open hearts, homes in response to need for foster families

May 28, 2024, 2:58 PM | Updated: Jun 2, 2024, 11:03 pm

LEHI Gov. Spencer Cox and first lady Abby Cox are calling on Utahns to open their hearts and their homes in response to a critical need for foster families.

Right now, more than 1,700 kids are being impacted by the shortage of foster care families. 

The greatest need right now is for children over the age of 9 with brothers and sisters. 

While every situation is different, in some cases, the children need a soft space to land temporarily. 

For other children, they are looking for their forever families. 

By the numbers

There are currently 1,756 children impacted by foster care. The majority of the children have siblings.

Currently in Utah, there are 822 licensed foster families, which is the fewest the state has had in more than 25 years. 

However, there is good news.

“One caring adult can make a huge difference,” said first lady Abby Cox. 

Natalie Clark, a former foster care young adult, knows firsthand. As a teen, she was in the Utah Foster Care system. 

“Some of the people who were cheering the loudest in the stands for all my graduations were the people who took me in as a teenager,” Clark said.

“What we often hear is, ‘This is the hardest thing we’ve ever done. And we’re so glad we’re doing it. It’s the best thing we’ve ever done,” he said.

There is a hard reality that lots of kids will not have a home to go to tonight.

“When there aren’t enough families to care for the children in need, children end up staying in dormitory-styled living,” said Nikki Mackay, CEO of Utah Foster Care. “Nationally, we have seen children have to stay in their case workers’ offices and in hotels, and we do not want to see that here in Utah.”

Fostering is not for everyone, but there is something we can all do to support those who are because small steps make a big impact.

“Can we bring you a pizza every Friday night for the next six months? Can we do even more?” Gov. Spencer Cox said.

Right now, there is no state in the country that does not have a waiting list for a faster family. The governor believes Utah could be the first. 

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Gov. Cox calling on Utahns to open hearts, homes in response to need for foster families