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Utah Foster Care Families in High Demand During COVID-19

Posted at 5:33 PM, Aug 05, 2020

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah foster families continue to be in demand during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially skilled caregivers.

Right now, there are more children in foster care than homes to care for the, particular those for children with significant behavioral or mental health challenges.

In March, when families were told to isolate and stay home, Sela Misinale opened up her house.

“We looked into fostering three times before this within the 14 years I’ve been married,” Misinale said.

For the family of five, the pandemic became best time to open their lives to a child in need.

"We prayed about it and this was something that opened up,” Misinale said.

The family cares for 17-year-old girl with significant challenges.

“I find a piece of myself that I don’t think I would be able to find anywhere else helping another child …who has no one else,” Misinale said.

On Wednesday, she and several dozen other foster parents get ongoing training and support through Open Arms Children and Adult Services in South Salt Lake.

“Every child that comes in requires different needs and we we want to make sure we can find the best fitting family,” Rey Hansen said, Open Arms coordinator.

In Utah, there is a general need for foster parents, especially so-called proctor families with specialized skills able to care for children with significant behavioral or mental health needs.

As of today, Utah has about 2,400 children in foster care and 1,100 licensed foster families.

“One of the things we are looking for right now is making sure that we can fill the need,” said Hansen.

While immensely challenging, being a proctor family is immensely rewarding for Misinale.

“Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid to open not just your home, but open your heart,” said Misinale.

To apply to become a foster parent, click here.