Catholic Community Services photo
Building in Lincoln City is being converted into a foster home.
Catholic Community Services photo
Building in Lincoln City is being converted into a foster home.
LINCOLN CITY — Of the 130 children placed in foster care annually in Lincoln County, 32 are not likely to be reunited with their families.

The lives of these youths often are in chaos, and their futures depend on entering a foster home with foster parents who can provide security, teach life skills and restore hope. Usually, what they get instead is a series of interrupted placements, moving from one home to the next, which only adds to the trauma.

A new program called Community Homes for Children addresses the need the children have for stability. It gives them a permanent home in a caring community that they can call their own.

Through a partnership between Catholic Community Services, the Congregational Church of Lincoln City and Lincoln County community leaders, the first Lincoln County Community Home for Children is ready to start changing the odds for Lincoln County children in long-term foster care.  A portion of an existing building has been renovated to serve as a home with funds raised in Salem and at an event held at the Congregational church in March.  

The home is ready. The foster children are waiting.  The only piece missing is foster parents.

"Foster parenting is a tough job. It isn't for everyone," says Karen Shanks, chief human resources officer of Catholic Community Services. "But for people with love to spare and a willingness to share life's struggles with young people in need, foster parenting can be deeply rewarding."

Shanks says the current shortage of foster parents is due to a lack of awareness about three things: the urgent need, the qualifications for the job and the support provided.  

She explains that even those who have never parented a child may qualify if they are willing to receive training. Professional social service staff are on call around the clock and provide respite care for foster parents. Shanks says the best foster parents are patient, caring adults who want to work with professional staff to change lives for the better.

"Foster parents are critical to these young people and their ability to succeed when they enter the community as independent young adults," said Shanks. "By providing a safe, stable, nurturing home, foster parents help build self-esteem and impart knowledge and coping skills that make all the difference."

To find out more, contact Catholic Community Services at (503) 856-7011 or visit