An Echo Press Editorial: We need more good hearts, more foster parents
From the editorial: Becoming a foster parent offers hope to children by providing a secure environment where children can thrive.
May is National Foster Care Month.
Of course, the need for families to take in foster children isn’t restricted to a month. The need goes much deeper than that.
Children’s Home Society and Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota are affiliated organizations seeking foster parents to partner with them in caring for children and youth in need. If you are interested in making a direct difference in children’s lives, consider becoming a foster parent.
Foster care is making a positive difference in young people’s lives.
During 2022, an estimated 11,200 children and youth experienced out-of-home care, according to the most recent information available through the Minnesota Department of Human Services.
Children’s Home Society and Lutheran Social Service provide a range of services based on the unique needs of each child in foster care to ensure that all children have individualized supports they need to build healthy relationships and flourish in the community, according to a news release the two organizations provided.
Comprehensive training for foster parents also promotes high quality care and ensures they have the support needed to be successful in creating a safe and stable environment where children thrive. In addition, trained professionals are available to offer support to foster parents 24/7.
Not every foster care family is the same. Families and individuals who provide foster care can have different household structures and come from diverse backgrounds. The two organizations are seeking foster parents who are willing to listen, provide support and help children create healthy relationships in their families and communities. Flexibility, patience and a healthy sense of humor are also ideal characteristics for foster parents.
“Currently, there is a great need for families able and willing to provide short-term respite care, foster sibling groups, school-aged children, and older youth; and who are supportive and affirming of youth who identify as LGBTQIA2S+. BIPOC families are also needed to support children and youth of color,” the organizations said in a news release.
Becoming a foster parent offers hope to children by providing a secure environment where children can thrive. To learn more, visit fosterminnesota.org.
Last year around this time, Tikki Brown, assistant commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services wrote about the need for more foster parents. She noted that all children need someone to be there for them, whether to kick a ball around, empathize over adolescent friendships, or provide support for mental health issues or other adversities.
“They need to know that at least one person will never give up on them – no matter what happens in their lives, no matter who they are, no matter what they do. They need someone who will always love, support, mentor and care for them,” Brown wrote. “When children cannot safely live with one or both of their parents, or with another relative, a foster parent can be that person.”
Foster parents can help foster children with additional positive human experiences. Brown said a former foster youth put it this way: “A lot of people in the world have good hearts, and not a lot of people get to see that part of people. … A good place to start is showing kids you love them when they haven’t had that before.”
On a related note, the Echo Press is working on a story with three students at Alexandria Area High School who are in a civil service and engagement class. They’re trying to raise donations and awareness about the local Fostering Love program, which works to provide foster children’s immediate needs before they’re taken to their foster homes. Watch for more details or go to the “Fostering Love Alexandria Facebook” page, https://www.facebook.com/DouglasCountyFosterCloset .