TRAVERSE CITY -- Shelley Sorensen delivered a message for those thinking about becoming foster parents.
"Don't think that you are not going to be able to do it," she said. "If they are at all considering this, they need to give it a shot."
The Elmwood Township house she shares with husband George Stacy, four adopted children and four foster children brimmed with activity on a recent evening. Outside, boys rode bikes down the long driveway. Inside, a child explained the color-coded chart Sorensen keeps to track the kids' daily behavior. Providing a foster home is not easy, but it is rewarding, the couple said.
Recent reforms to Michigan's child welfare system and family stresses caused by foreclosures and job losses mean more adults are needed to take in foster children. The nonprofit Child and Family Services of Northwestern Michigan, founded in 1937, places foster youth and works for permanent adoptions. Currently, it has a roster of about 170 foster families but anticipates a need for 200 or more.