HOUSTON - Foster kids are in crisis: state officials say there are more than 5,100 foster children in the Houston region, but just 2,900 homes for these children.
Giving guidance and boundaries are only two of the ways someone can love a foster child. For a local woman, she learned how to survive and thrive after she got out of the system.
Brandie Seifert became a child of the foster system at 12 years old.
"I didn't know what was happening. The police came and took us away. It was like a hospital or orphanage," remembered Seifert.
At 18, she was on her own.
"I didn't have any resources. I had nobody to help me," said Seifert.
Realizing she needed to take charge of her life, she got a retail job.
"This manager pulled me aside and said, 'You need to look in the mirror everyday and tell yourself that you're beautiful, and you need to know how capable you are in life,'" Seifert recalled.
That was the motivation Seifert needed to catapult herself into a career as a makeup artist. She soon landed celebrity bookings, and a lot of her celebrity clients wanted eco-friendly products.
"I would call a makeup artist and say I need a product that's greener, and I wouldn't tell them the celebrity I was working with. The code name was Hollywood Hippie," said Seifert.
A few years later, she created her own healthy cosmetics line, lovingly named Hollywood Hippie.
"Within Hollywood Hippie, we have a brand called the Cosmo Cause collection that gives back 100 percent to children in need. Right now, our focus is the Pink Giraffe House, which are kids from 11-18 who are homeless," said Seifert.
Pink Giraffe House is a charity based right here in Houston, and through her work with charity, Sefiert bonded with Erin Mahaffey and her 9-year-old daughter, Ava. Mahaffey is a foster mom, and for six years, she's given a temporary home and lots of love to children from the system.
"We realized we had this awesome connection to help children," said Mahaffey.
"We're just an average family. I feel like we don't have a lot of time, we could always have more money for things, we have our three biological children, but we are very capable," she added.
Mahaffey always knew she wanted to be a foster parent, but she didn't realize the immense life lessons being a foster parent would teach her daughter when she became a foster sister.
"You need to let them know that it's going to be okay because a lot the time they have no idea what's going on," said Ava.
DFPS is holding several upcoming informational meetings for people interested in becoming foster parents.