With more children in need of foster care, and fewer families available, state agencies are experiencing a shortfall of certified, qualified families.

According to Foster Care of Mesa County, 250 babies, children and teens are needing families right now. Here. In Mesa County. Add that to the 1,200 families that will need homes within the next couple of years, according to a story first published in the Denver Post, and you can see how large the need becomes.

In order to be considered as a host family, you will need to be at least 21 years of age, able to provide a home with love, consistency and good structure. If you have a family structure already and are thinking about opening your home to a foster child, make sure you discuss it with all family members first.

Once the decision is made to become a foster family, you're not just thrown into it. The agencies provide training and support for you. A caseworker will be assigned to you and will come visit with the family to make sure of the environment and see how you as a family interact.

Foster children aren't normally in a home for a long time, as once situations improve with their own family, they return there. But while they are with your family, you have a chance to make a difference in the life of a child, or children.

State-wide there are over 5,000 children in need of homes, but only 2,000 certified families available. So you can see why state agencies are hopeful that others will step forward and bridge the gap that exists.

If you would like to find out more about becoming a foster family, you would certainly be enriching the lives of at least one young person. And making a difference in the process.