DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Across the state of Ohio, there is an ongoing need for foster parents.

Leaders in Montgomery County say the need has been especially high since the COVID-19 pandemic. In Montgomery County alone, there have been over 4,000 reports of child abuse in 2022. Hundreds of children have been left in the custody of the county.

Although some foster parents are able to help children, the supply does not come close to the demand. Agencies across the Miami Valley and Ohio have been searching for more people to become foster parents.

Montgomery County has a high poverty rate.

After the 2019 Memorial Day Tornadoes, the community has especially been able to feel the stress. The Village Network, a not-for-profit behavioral healthcare company, says the COVID pandemic played an additional role in the increase of poverty levels.

While The Village Network offers a variety of services for children, it also specializes in therapeutic foster care.

Many of the children they help are deeply troubled and have faced severe levels of trauma.

The company offers additional services to those children and have seen significant success with their model for fostering children. With the need for foster parents at an all time high, The Village Network is asking people who may have the resources to look into the potential of fostering a child.

“If you’re even thinking about it, if you’re unsure and you’re even thinking about it for, you know, if it’s right now or down the road, I would say reach out and contact somebody to get more information,” said Richard Graziano, president and CEO, The Village Network. “Like, give us a call here at The Village Network and ask the questions just to get more information so you can make an informed decision.”

A training course by The Village Network will be held on Oct. 10 in Montgomery County for people interested in becoming foster parents.