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May 5, 2013 12:18 AM by Rebecca Taylor

Foster parents needed in Pima County

TUCSON - Foster kids and the families who nurture them were celebrated Saturday.

The Tucson Blue Ribbon Event is in its seventh year.

It also aims to raises awareness that more foster parents are needed.

Kids enjoyed balloon artists, face painting, and a jumping castle.

Right now there are more than 3,000 foster kids in Pima County, with just under 800 foster homes.

Event organizer Rachel Lohrman says, "You do the math, it doesn't add up. So we really need families who are willing to take these kids into their homes."

Lohrman fostered, then adopted three kids ages 13, 14, and 17.

She says kids thrive in a family environment. "If they don't have a home to grow up in, they're in a group home or shelter," says Lohrman.

Shirley Lovitt is a foster parent. "And it's a rewarding job sometimes it's rough, depending on what the kids come with, you have to know what you're doing."

Lovitt has been a foster parent for 23 years.

"With me having only three boys, I always wanted a house full of kids and I knew I wasn't going to have them," says Lovitt. "But I just love the work that I do with them."

Kami Mark is a former foster child who knows how important the work of foster parents is. "It will last a long time, past the age of 18. It will help them succeed in life having that guidance. I think it's super important."

In an effort to find more homes for foster children Governor Jan Brewer signed a bill into law this week, allowing Arizonans to become foster parents, even if their own children haven't been immunized.

There were mixed opinions at Saturday's event.

"I would just say, I think she knows there's a great need in the state for more foster families," says Lohrman.

Lovitt says, "To be honest, I don't like it. I think all children should be immunized."

To learn more about how to begin the process to become a foster and/or adoptive parent in Arizona, call The Tucson Foster and Adoptive Council at 1-877-KIDS-NEED-U.

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