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More fosters needed for children in northwest Ohio

National Youth Advocate Program official said the goal is to triple the number of foster homes in Toledo.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Nathan Koenig has been a foster parent for five years.

"This is the greatest thing or one of the greatest things you'll ever do in your life," Koenig said.

Little did he know that he would adopt five kids in those five years.

"I was adopted when I was a baby and so I just always knew that when that time came around--and I've always loved kids--I wanted to be able to give back to what was given to me," Koenig said.

A fulfilling challenge that he said isn't always easy.

"I think my grey hair is coming in a lot faster than it was prior to that," Koenig said.

Credit: Nathan Koenig

He said it's worth it though, especially knowing there's such a need for people like him.

"It is somewhat of a crisis but there are so many teens that are in shelters right now and a lot of times when people do want to be foster parents they want babies and so we have a hard time placing our teens," regional manager for National Youth Advocate Program, Jennifer Lowery, said.

Lowery said the pandemic heavily impacted the ability to place kids into homes and right now they only have seven foster homes in the Toledo area and the goal is 25.

"One of the things we're going to look for is of course a loving home but then someone that has passion and dedication to youth and want to open their home," Lowery said. "That is really what we look for."

Lowery and Koenig said the important thing for people to recognize is that these kids aren't in foster because of their actions. Instead, it's the situation they're in.

"A lot of times people from the outside think the kid is the problem and they're not. They're just trying to find a place where they can have stability and love and trust," Koenig said.

"It really takes a special person to open up their home and their heart but the kids really don't have anywhere else to go," Lowery said.

If you are interested in becoming a foster parent, you can contact Koenig directly at 419-973-7653 or email him at nkoenig@nyap.org, or you can click here.

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