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Readers’ Views

Humane Society offers update

To the Editor:

Greetings from the Martin County Humane Society/Carl Nettifee Memorial Animal Shelter. This is an update on what has and will not be happening.

First, I want to thank everyone who has continued to support us since we had to close the shelter in mid-March. You are all so wonderful.

Our adoptions have gone quite well considering what we are all going through. All of our adoptable pets are pictured on Petfinder.com and our Facebook page, Martin County Humane Society of MN. With an approved adoption application, individual meet-and-greets have been set up to get acquainted with preferred pet(s).

Because of COVID-19, the following has to be cancelled: our annual spring plant sale scheduled for Saturday, May 16, usually held in the parking lot of St. John United Church of Christ, and the bake sale scheduled for Saturday, June 13, which was to be held at Fleet & Farm in Fairmont. Knowing this was going to happen, we just finished up on a pet photo contest and a special “Give to the Max” donation program. Both were online programs and we received a lot of much needed monetary income. We will be holding our annual golf outing, hopefully in June, in a reduced capacity. Please watch our website and Facebook page for details.

Our regular volunteers are anxious to get back to their routines of dog walking and cat cuddling. We are looking forward to when everyone’s life returns to some form of normalcy. Thank you for your patience and endurance through this period in our lives.

Nancy Fetters, treasurer

Martin County Humane Society

Fairmont

Foster parents find rewards

To the Editor:

May is Foster Care Appreciation month. Human Services of Faribault & Martin Counties currently licenses 15 county foster homes. There are other providers who have obtained licenses through different agencies.

What some people may not realize is that there are also several relatives who obtain foster care licenses to care for their relative children. This group is the largest that Faribault and Martin county licenses.

How great is the need for foster care providers in our small communities? There is a great need. It is my hope to be able to work with potential foster care providers in our area to help fill it.

In 2019, in the state of Minnesota, there were about 6,100 children who entered out-of-home placement, according to the state Department of Human Services. 31% were a result of parental drug abuse. 22% were due to allegations of neglect, while 10% were due to allegations of physical abuse.

Foster care is intended to be a short-term option that provides temporary care and nurturing to children who need it the most. However, in 2019 only 56% of Minnesota’s foster children were reunited with their birth parents. 18% of the remaining children were adopted, while 11% achieved permanency with a relative or caregiver other than their biological parents. Children under 2 years of age and those between the ages of 15 and 17 are the ones most likely to need out of home placement.

Statistics from 2018 show there was an estimated population of 7,344 children in Faribault and Martin counties. 138 of those children experienced out of home care, or 1.9%. Though the numbers have decreased, the growing drug epidemic and rise in child protection cases has caused an increase in the average length of placement, up to 12 months.

Foster care is necessary, especially family foster care. This is the ideal situation in order to help maintain strong family bonds. However, when this option is unavailable, the need for a non-relative foster home becomes inevitable. This is where you can help. Anyone can request to start the foster care licensing process. You can be married or single; you can own or rent your home. You need to be 21 years of age or older and be able to pass a fingerprint background study. You must complete the required pre-service trainings and allow your licensor to complete a home safety checklist.

If you are willing to open your home and your lives to children in need, please contact me and we can begin the process of getting your license. Don’t expect that it will always be easy, because it won’t. There will be laughter and tears, just as with raising your own children. But remember, the rewards.

These children have seen some precarious situations played out. They may be scared and have trauma. They may have mental health needs and behaviors that they have acquired as a direct result of their environments. They may be in survival mode, unpredictable, at best. But, with the love, kindness and nurturing that you can provide to them, they will be able to begin to heal and grow.

Please contact me at Human Services of Faribault & Martin Counties in order to receive an application packet to become a foster parent. I will help you navigate the process. If you know someone who you think would be a great candidate for foster care, please share this information with them.

Finally, thank you to all of the wonderful foster care providers, past and present, who give of themselves unselfishly in order to help protect the most vulnerable children we serve.

Jen Nelson,

child foster care licensor

Human Services

of Faribault and Martin Counties

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