There is a tremendous need for foster homes across the state and nation. Even in mostly rural Sullivan County, 110 kids are seeking to join foster families.
Stacie Dube is a foster parent who chose to open up her family's hearts. She started fostering 10 years ago because after working in emergency medical services for over 20 years, she witnessed a lot of tragedy.
"You see situations that take you by surprise, and it just makes you come home and really appreciate, we started to really appreciate our life here and looking at our kids' lives and realizing that not everybody has that safe, happy home to come home to from school every day," Dube said.
So she and her husband, Scott, looked into the process to become foster parents.
"It sounded really daunting," she said. "It was 10 weeks of classes. And they were actually very simple. We met once a week. We had to go through a big process of fingerprinting and background checks and getting a home inspection."
Then came the phone call.
"Amazing. We didn't know what to expect, so we were really nervous and we were as prepared as could be," Dube said. "You never know what it's going to be like 'till you open your home to somebody, and you find out that it's even better than you could have dreamed."
In addition to three children the couple share, they adopted Emily.
"First, one parent and then the other parent ended up surrendering their rights as a parent so that we could adopt her, because they saw that she was taken care of and safe. And they really weren't ready yet to do that themselves. And we were blessed enough that we adopted her this last September," Dube said.
According to iFoster, a national nonprofit aimed at raising awareness, more than 15,000 kids are currently in foster care, with around 11,000 licensed foster homes in New York.
Of the kids in foster care, a majority are Black and Hispanic.
Dube said Emily is everything her family needed.
"Although there's little pieces of the puzzle that I'll always be clicking in place, she was the final big piece for me. And she clicked and I couldn't, I couldn't have asked for anything more than that," Dube said.