With 45 children in Wadena County in foster care placement, Human Services staff said foster care parents are highly needed. While children are placed with parents or in homes the day they arrive in the county’s care, the need comes regardless of the county, as social worker Taylor Johnson said.

“We need foster parents,” said child protection supervisor Bobbe Anderson. “It’s a tough job and it’s exhausting, but it’s probably one of the most rewarding things that you could do.”

Foster parents can be licensed through the county or a private agency and can care for children over a period of months or offer a break to other foster care parents for a weekend or few days, according to Johnson. The licensing process includes conversations about foster care, interviews with the person or family interested, home walk-throughs and paperwork over a 3-4 month period. The licensing cost is minimal, about $50, and could increase if a fire marshal inspection or pet vaccinations are required.

The county also provides adoption services for children in foster care who have come into permanency. Social worker Maggie Madison said she mostly works with family relatives of children though non-relatives are also encouraged to apply to find a good fit for the children. The adoption process is about 6 months to a year in coordination with the state and many organizations on gathering children’s records such as health and school information as well as paperwork for the prospective adoptive parents. The adoption filing fee is about $375 and $25 for a new birth certificate as well as the recommendation to hire a lawyer for the paperwork. The state has a reimbursement grant that adoptive parents can request to cover these costs, according to Madison.

Foster parents also regularly meet and complete training, which are online and include plenty of Zoom calls during the pandemic.

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Minnesota foster care children looking for permanent homes, according to a mnADOPT news release:

  • 733 children

  • 65% have special needs, including physical, mental, emotional or behavioral disabilities

  • 57% are siblings who need to be adopted together

  • 46% are 12 to 18 years old, 28% are 6 to 11 and 26% are under 6

  • 36% are white, 31% are Black/African American, 6% are American Indian, 1% are Asian/Pacific Islander, 25% are two or more races and 1% are unknown/declined to identify.

More information

  • To learn more about becoming a foster parent or adopting a child from foster care, call Wadena County Human Services at 218-631-7605 and ask for child foster care.

  • For statewide foster and adoption information, visit www.mnadopt.org/.