Katy Families Share Foster Care Experiences, Texas Reports Industry Crisis

Katy families share their stories on foster care as Texas reports an overall crisis with high child take in numbers, and not enough homes to place them in.

The Cantu family has fostered to adopt 8 children. Here they are with 6 of them. Photo credit: Debi Cantu.

Happening in Harris County

The Texas foster care system has struggled for years but this year has seen the crisis skyrocket with stories of kids sleeping in Child Protection Agency offices. This crisis is happening in our area as Harris County reports some of the highest child take in numbers.

According to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services the Houston-area currently ranks number two with 13,625 distinct children served in 2020. The Arlington-area is currently ranked number one.

In June 2021, Texas Child Protective services reported 19,223 child intake for investigation.

Harris County and Bexar County go back and forth in being number one.

The bigger problem is that the agency is struggling to place children. One person in the industry shared that they can often place infants to two-year-olds in minutes but placing older children is much harder.

Also, the ultimate goal is to be able to return many children to their families, so this further complicates the system as many families prefer to foster to adopt.

Empty Nest System Turns into a Foster to Adopt for 8 Katy Children

Katy’s Debi and Erik Cantu were a second marriage and brought five children into their union, but soon Debi got the bug for more.

“By the time I was hitting 40 I felt the empty nest syndrome,” says Debi Cantu. “My mom fostered for a few years after I had left home so I thought that might be what I’d like to do for a while.”

Erik was new to this idea of fostering but told his wife, “whatever makes you happy!”

Debi did a lot of research and she and Erik started taking classes with DePelchin in 1997. They received their first foster child one month into 1998.