Salado: Emergency shelter to help foster children

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SALADO, Texas (KWTX) More than 3,700 foster children need a temporary place to lay their heads at night in Central Texas.

Photo by: Kristen Victorin

Some residents think that number will continue to go up. A local pair of foster parents looking to help out.

The Ocasios started with 3 children when they married but they wanted more.

"We started to see the need there was for loving homes for children,” Wilfredo Ocasio said.

They adopted 11 through the foster care system.

"There's not enough foster families to take care of kids,” he said.

The Department of Family and Protective Services says this is true for those with severe mental or behavioral problems.

That is why the couple is looking to open "Garden of Hope,” an emergency shelter.

"I don't want a kid sleeping in an office or sleeping in a hotel or bouncing from one house tonight to another house tomorrow,” Wilfred said.

The couple has enough space to house 13-15 children at the location they found in Salado. A family therapist will treat the children and staff will be hired to help care for them.

"We want to keep them here or give them a sense of belonging, give them a sense of stability and that they know, okay, well, at least I'm here and it's nice here,” he said.

His wife, Dimarie Ocasio said there is another reason for their project.

"We don't like seeing kids separated from their siblings," she said.

For now, they're working closely with the Department of Family and Protective Services to open the shelter and help fill a temporary void.

The Ocasios are raising the funds for the shelter location's down payment. That is their final step before opening its doors in March.

Information about the cause and donations can be found at www.gardenofhopeofcentraltexas.com/.