Erin Cohan, foster program director for Guardian Angel Community Services in Joliet, called Janet Palkon's angel bear program "phenomenal."
It's a great way to build awareness for children in care as well as the need for foster parents," Cohan said.
How big is the need?
"Pretty big," Cohan said. "There are over 125,000 in care just in Illinois. Our program serves anywhere from 85 to 100 kids at one time throughout a fiscal year and those numbers are constantly changing as our children move through the system and achieve permanency, but it's difficult.
The kids, Cohan said, range from 0 to 21, all ages, races and genders. They cannot come into care after age 18 but they can remain in foster care until age 21.
"Our job is to find good and reliable homes for them in their time of need," Cohan said
Even though more foster parents are needed overall, foster parents are especially needed for older children sibling groups.
"I have sibling groups of five, six and eight right now," Cohan said. "It's very difficult to find homes that will take in more than two children."