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Now it's easier to adopt foster kids

If you or someone you know has ever thought about adoption, now is a great time to check into the possibilities of giving a child a lasting, loving home.

Becker County has received an 18-month grant from the Minnesota Department of Human Services that will provide support to foster families who will adopt the children placed with them.

There is a particular need for foster homes that will accept sibling groups, children with special needs, teenagers and Native American children, according to Joni Wohlwend of Becker County Human Services.

But the need goes beyond those four areas, Wohlwend added.

"There aren't many foster homes available in this area," she said. "The choices are limited."

Part of the reason for this limitation may be that there are so many myths out there regarding adoption through the foster care system.

To help dispel some of those myths, the Becker County Foster-to-Adopt Program is hosting a discussion panel, "Myths and Facts of Adoption through the Foster Care System," on Thursday, May 4 at Minnesota State Community & Technical College in Detroit Lakes.

The event, which runs from 6 to 8 p.m., is free and open to the public. There will be a panel of family services professionals, foster parents and adoptive parents on hand to provide information on the high need for permanent homes for children in the foster care system.

Included in the discussion will be some of the false information out there, which includes such myths as "adoption is too expensive," or "you have to be married to adopt." There is support available through this DHS grant for home safety repairs and improvements needed to bring foster homes up to licensing standards, said Nicole LeDoux, a juvenile probation officer who like Wohlwend, is a member of the Becker County Foster to Adopt Recruitment and Retention Committee.

"If you have a desire to help a child, and are not sure if you're eligible (to adopt), you should call me," said Jennifer Berube, another committee member who works with the county's child and family services program.

"There are 650 kids waiting to be adopted in Minnesota right now," Wohlwend added. "Most of them would be eligible for a subsidy (to the adoptive family)."

Besides financial support, there are also counseling services and support groups available, as well as ongoing training services.

For more information, contact Jennifer Berube at 218-847-5628, ext. 5366.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454