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Consider fostering a child

Everyone should consider fostering a child if they’re able.

“There is a huge, huge, huge need in our region for foster home providers,” Stephanie Dettloff, executive director of Child and Family Services of Northeast Michigan in Alpena, told News Lifestyles editor Darby Hinkley for a recent story. “Because we have more children in placement, and, unfortunately, if we don’t have foster homes, we are looking at placing children in residential programs, which we really don’t want to have happen, or placing them outside of their community, because we don’t have any established homes here.”

A new exhibit at the Besser Museum for Northeast Michigan, “Michigan Heart Gallery,” highlights that need.

When parents struggle enough that it threatens the health or wellbeing of their children, the state intervenes and can provide parents support — and mandate parents partake in that support — to turn things around. While the parents work on themselves, their children often spend time outside of their home — often in foster care.

Some 13,000 kids are in foster care across the state, including 15 in our region.

You don’t have to be perfect to be a foster parent, or wealthy. You have to be caring, and willing to give kids some stability while their parents work on themselves. That can make all the difference in a child’s life.

“When we see the kids be able to have that stability that a family provides, it makes … everything a little bit better,” Child Welfare Supervisor Tiffany Eddinger told Hinkley. “It’s a lot, but in the long run, it’s always rewarding.”

Visit Michigan.gov/HopeForAHome or call 1-855-MICHKIDS (642-4547) for more information about whether foster parenting is right for you and how to get started.

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