A search for foster homes for 108 handicapped children, now under the care of the District of Columbia, has been launched by D.C. Social Services Commissioner Audrey Rowe.

Many of the children, ranging in age from 1 to 21, have physical and emotional or mental handicaps. Currently, the children are at the Hospital for Sick Children, National Children's Center, Christ Child Institute and St. Ann's.

"We are seeking people who want the challenge and satisfaction of knowing they are helping a child for whom it is especially difficult to make progress," Rowe said. "We have found that children who have been placed with loving families seem to do better and to make greater progress than those who must live in institutions, however good the facilities are."

Prospective foster parents must be between 21 and 60 years old, in good health, able to live comfortably within their incomes and have room for an extra child. They may be married or single.

Foster parent training and ongoing support services for the child, including medical therapy and counseling, are provided. Stipends of $253 a month are provided for children younger than 12 and $265 for children 12 and older.

Persons interested in becoming foster parents should call 727-0868 for information.