PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The head of Rhode Island’s child welfare agency says the state needs more foster families after a survey found a high number of teens being put into group homes and shelters.

The group Rhode Island Kids Count released numbers Wednesday showing that a disproportionate percentage of 12- to 18-year-old children in the state are being placed into communal care.

At a discussion of the numbers, Department of Children, Youth and Families director Trista Piccola said close to half of the children placed into communal care are only there because the state could not find suitable foster families.

The Providence Journal reports that she said group homes and shelters are not permanent solutions and need to be used more sparingly.

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