For the first time in years it appears that the number of Montana kids in the foster care system has dipped. Youth Dynamics Family Program Manager Katie Gerten helps to license foster families in Montana, and says the State’s most recent numbers, which were tallied at the end of August, show some good and bad news.

“Right now we have about 3,921 kids in care,” Gerten said. “However, currently we only have 396 foster homes across the state. While the kids in care did drop slightly, by about 50 kids or so, the number of homes dropped drastically.”

For some perspective on the number of licensed and available homes for foster children, last year Gerten says there were about 1,500, so to have less than 400 homes available in 2018 is a precipitous drop that has left many in disbelief.

“It was quite shocking to me when I got the numbers, to be honest,” Gerten said. “I am not exactly sure how that happened, but it is pretty dramatic. When I got the information, I had someone ask me where I got those numbers so I reached out to the state to check. I am assuming it has to be accurate because I have not received any corrections.”

The math on the situation is dismal: With over 3,900 Montana children in need of a foster home and only 396 foster homes available statewide, only about ten percent of those children waiting for a home have any hope of being placed if things go on unchanged.