UPSTATE, S.C. (WSPA)- There is a serious need for foster parents in the Upstate and South Carolina as hundreds of children are in need of care.

In the Upstate, there is currently a need for over 670 foster homes with over 1,200 kids looking for a foster home.

The need is so crucial because it would put kids in a family setting rather than a group home and it would give kids the opportunity to learn in a family setting while being able to live in their home community.

The Director of Epworth’s Children Home in the Upstate said, one big reason for the shortage is families may think it’s an overwhelming commitment.

Carmen Mulkey said licensed foster parents would tell those who are overwhelmed that it’s not as overwhelming as they may think.

Mulkey said they’re looking for families that have a passion working with kids and making their lives better and helping age groups that take up a majority of kids in the system.

There is a need for about 300 homes for kids ages 12 to 18 and about 200 homes are needed for kids that are seven to 12 years old.

Mulkey said, “younger children are much easier to place so the focus for DSS and even for Epworth at this time is to try to license homes that are willing to take older children.”

They also want to keep siblings together, said Mulkey, and over 100 homes in the Upstate needed to place sibling groups.

There is also financial support for foster parents that range based on the age group.

If you are interested in becoming a foster parent, you can visit the Epworth Children’s Home website.

Epworth Children’s home in the Upstate is also holding an information session on September 19 at the New Beginnings Methodist Church at 6:30 p.m.