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Foster parents offer stability, support for Minnesota families during difficult times

Star Herald Editorial

Foster Care Month in May offers an opportunity to recognize foster parents for providing care and stability to children in crisis across Minnesota.
Children often experience mental health challenges from trauma and family disruption. In fact, mental and behavioral health is the most significant unmet health need for children and teens in foster care.
As many as 80 percent of children in foster care have significant mental health issues, compared to about 20 percent of the general population.
“Addressing the mental health needs of children, youth and parents can bring success to families who get the support and services they need,” said Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead.
Children who cannot safely remain at home may be placed temporarily in family foster care or a group residential facility. In 2022, 11,235 children and young adults in Minnesota experienced out-of-home care.
When out-of-home placement becomes necessary, relatives and kin are the first consideration.
Maintaining these relationships can increase stability, reduce trauma and help children maintain a sense of family, belonging and identity.
Minnesota counties and agencies are working to preserve family connections, with 62 percent of children in foster care in Minnesota placed with relatives.
Even with the growth in relative and kinship placements, many agencies still need more foster parents, particularly those who can help meet children’s mental health needs.
Counties are seeking foster families with expertise – or willingness to learn – to support children with trauma and other mental health needs.
Culturally appropriate mental health supports that recognize the identity, culture and lived experiences of children and youth help make services and supports more effective and result in better long-term outcomes.
Foster parents may be licensed to provide training and assess foster families’ strengths and needs. They also help create individual training plans to meet the needs of children in foster care.
The Minnesota Department of Human Services provides funding to train and support foster families.
Ideally, these agencies have a large enough pool of foster parents to enable children and youth to remain in their communities and schools, while having their needs met.
For more information visit the Department of Human Services’ webpage,

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