Brooklyn Park Couple Share Story to Highlight Foster Care Shortage
A shortage of foster care parents has been a problem in Hennepin County for years. According to the latest report in 2019, about 1,300 Hennepin County kids were in foster care.
That same report shows that on any given day there were an average of 9,300 kids in foster care across the state. More than 700 of those youths need adoptive families.
Brooklyn Park Couple Are Foster Parents
For 34 years, Brooklyn Park residents Curtis and Darlene Bell have lived out their calling of being foster parents.
The high school sweethearts grew up around the foster care system and understand the trauma and baggage foster kids carry.
“I have lived experience being a foster child when I was living in Chicago,” said Curtis. “I’ve experienced trauma and had to be put into foster care.”
“My parents were taken in, my cousins and community members way back before it was ever foster care,” Darlene added.
Whether it’s a couple days or a couple years, Curtis said the reward of being a foster parent outweighs the challenges.
“They know that we’ll always be their grandma and papa even when they’re far and gone and grown. We’re still here for them,” said Curtis.
Many foster children come from abuse or neglect. The hardest groups to place in foster homes are teens and siblings. Thanks to organizations like MN ADOPT, kids are connected to parents like Darlene and Curtis.
“We don’t need perfect families,” said Kim Young, the foster care and kinship specialist. “We need families that provide stable and safe place.”
Young said some of the basic requirements to become foster parents include being 21 years or older and passing a criminal background check.
Foster children could come into a home as little as 2 days to a few years. Young said the need in foster homes is important to the community so kids can cope, heal and grow into strong adults.