Thousands of Kids Need Foster Care in Minnesota & North Dakota
Nearly 17,000 kids needed social assistance in Minnesota. while 1,050 registered in North Dakota
MOORHEAD, Minn. — For the last few years, social workers have struggled to find families to accommodate a growing number of foster kids.
“A lot of those kids are waiting because we don’t have places to put teenage kids or sibling groups, and it’s hard for us to find homes that can take that many kids because a lot of our foster parents have children of their own, and so they have a capacity to what they can handle,” said Jenn Helm, a Recruiting and Licensing Specialist for PATH North Dakota.
The Minnesota Department of Human Services reports that nearly 17,000 kids across the state needed foster care, a number that’s doubled in the last five years.
“It’s an overwhelming number and clearly a number we don’t want to see in our state and even locally. Our numbers are quite high as well, and we are always trying to look at how we can create safety for kids in their homes whenever possible,” Rhonda Porter, the Director of Social Services for Clay County, said.
A big reason for that spike involves parental opioid and alcohol abuse, which accounted for nearly 30 percent of all cases needing foster care in Minnesota.
“Not all of those cases require an out–of–home placement. However, if we’re not able to assure safety, then typically an out–of–home placement is recommended,” Porter said.
Meanwhile, over a thousand kids needed out–of–home assistance in North Dakota, but PATH North Dakota currently reports that 85 children are still waiting on being placed in a home.
With plenty of opportunities to help these kids out, some say it doesn’t take much to become an effective foster parent.
“Kids in foster care, they have struggles. It’s not going to be easy just as it is for any parent, there’s going to be challenges. But with a lot of time and with stability and patience, they’re going to see those changes and that’s what’s really rewarding about being a foster parent,” said Carissa Cox, a Recruitment and Licensing Specialist for PATH North Dakota.
PATH North Dakota is hosting an event for prospective foster parents at their offices on 1202 Westrac Drive in Fargo on Thursday from 6 to 7 p.m.