Critical need for adopting older children in New York

More than seven years ago, Luvato Howard decided to begin her journey as a foster parent. She said that her mother died when she was 5, so her grandmother raised her and her six siblings. She said she could have ended up in foster care if her grandmother hadn't stepped up.

So Howard, a single parent with a biological son, felt compelled to do the same. She said that rather than take in young children, she decided to foster teenagers.

Working with the New York Foundling, Howard began opening up her home to older children -- girls and boys -- in need of a place to call home. Being a mother figure is what Howard was able to do for over 20 children of all ages.

She adopted several of them. Juline Bernard-Howard, Howard's daughter, said she feels lucky because some kids in her situation come from abusive homes and have been treated badly. For Juline and Howard's other children, having a place to call home and mother to call their own are the best gifts in life.

Currently, 10,000 children are in the New York City foster care system, according to the New York Foundling.

The New York Foundling online: