May is National Foster Care Appreciation Month and Olmsted County would like to take the time to acknowledge all our foster care providers in the community. Foster care can be for children as well as adults.
Olmsted County Child and Family Services reports that there are currently 121 licensed child foster care homes in our area. Olmsted County Adult and Family Services reports 90 family foster homes with 273 beds and 147 corporate foster homes with about 550 beds.
“Providing foster care for children does more than just provide temporary care, it offers children and birth families the supports they need during challenging times,” said Program Manager of Olmsted County Child and Family Services Tiffany Kacir. “Foster parents are an addition to a child or youth’s lives, not a replacement to a birth parent, that provide stability and comfort which can have positive lasting impacts.”
“Adult foster care providers serve individuals who need assistance due to developmental or physical disability, brain injury, mental health issues, or concerns related to aging,” explained Program Manager of Adult and Family Services Jennifer Bagne-Walsh.
Olmsted County recognizes the pandemic created additional challenges that foster families had to navigate such as:
- Navigating parenting time between foster children and birth parents while also trying to stay physically distanced.
- Accepting children and adults into their homes who have tested positive for COVID or had been exposed.
- Having to quarantine due to foster children being exposed to COVID by following the child’s visitation plan.
- Taking on distance learning with a child/youth the foster family is just getting to know.
- Being suddenly responsible for 24-hour care in cases where individuals in adult homes were unable to attend the day or work programs they had been attending.
- Working with licensors, the Department of Human Services, and the Minnesota Department of Health to navigate restrictions related to the pandemic with individuals’ rights and personal preferences.
“Despite these challenges, foster families continued to open their hearts and homes to children, youth, and adults in need,” continued Kacir.
Please join Olmsted County this May in showing appreciation and gratitude for all the foster care providers and the important work they do in our community.