In Minnesota, over 15,000 children and young adults experienced foster care last year, and more than 6,000 entered out-of-home placement. Many children enter foster care or a group residential facility when their family home is no longer safe. Often, this occurs due to parental drug abuse or allegations of neglect and/or physical abuse – things that are outside of the child’s – and sometimes the parents’ – control.
Families Play a Critical Role
Foster families step in to provide critical temporary care and nurturing to these children in crisis. Foster families come from all walks of life and may be single, married, partnered, with or without children, renters or homeowners. They play a role in recognizing the trauma children have experienced and help give them the structure, nurturing and stability they need every day.
When a child is not able to leave foster care and return to their biological family, a permanency option is needed. Right now, in Minnesota (as of August 2020), 733 children are waiting for immediate adoptive families.
Many of these children have experienced trauma during their critical developmental years and will need additional educational, medical or psychological help as they grow. These children of all ages and backgrounds simply need permanent, safe, stable, and loving homes.
Of the 733 kids in Minnesota waiting for families:
- 65% have a documented special need, including physical, mental, emotional or a behavioral disability.
- 36% are white, 31% are Black/African American, 25% are two or more races, 6% are American Indian, 1% are Asian or Pacific Islander.
- Approximately 57% are siblings who need to be adopted together.
- 46% are 12 to 18 years old.
- 28% are 6 to 11 years old.
- 26% are under 6 years old, although more than half of these children are part of sibling groups.
As you can see, there is a great need for foster care and adoptive families.
Support for Families
Foster and adoptive parents receive ongoing training to prepare them to meet the needs of the children in their care, as well as support services and additional resources to keep the family healthy and stable. Families also have options when it comes to the type of foster care and the time commitment they can provide – ranging from respite care all the way to traditional foster care. As a foster/adoptive parent, you also have a say in the age range, severity of needs, and general demographics of the children who you feel comfortable parenting. It is our job as your agency and care team to create the best match possible between your family and the child in need so that we’re establishing environments where everyone can find success.
If you are interested in fostering or adoption, click here for more information and contact a Nexus Family Healing agency near you.
This blog article was contributed by Kim Mertes, Adoption Social Worker for Nexus-Kindred Family Healing.
Nexus Family Healing is a national nonprofit mental health organization that restores hope for thousands of children and families who come to us for outpatient/community mental health services, foster care and adoption, and residential treatment. For over 45 years, our network of agencies has used innovative, personalized approaches to heal trauma, break cycles of harm, and reshape futures. We believe every child is worth it — and every family matters. Learn more at nexusfamilyhealing.org.