Adoptions for eight children who were in foster care were finalized in Crow Wing County on April 18.
The children ranged in age from 2 to 15, according to the Community Services Department which facilitates the adoptions.
“Adoption can be a very challenging and time consuming process,” said Pat Sharbonda, social services supervisor, in a news release. “We are very pleased to have permanent homes for these children and are grateful to the adoptive parents and the dedicated work of our staff to make this happen.”
Sharbonda noted that achieving adoption for eight children in the same week is a significant accomplishment.
When a child is in danger requiring the county to assume care, the county’s primary responsibility under state law is to reunify them with their parents. To achieve this goal, a county child protection case manager works to develop a plan that will help parents address the issues necessary to provide a safe, caring environment for the child. These case plans often include individual and family therapy, in-home family therapy, parent education and training, chemical dependency treatment and aftercare, skills training — including household management, finances, job skills, and assistance in establishing adequate and appropriate housing and more depending on the particular issues present in the family.
“It can be a challenge for some parents to make the necessary changes in their lives and there are laws that dictate the time lines followed, unfortunately reunification isn’t always possible when difficult family issues do not resolve” Sharbonda said.
He noted these issues often include chemical use/abuse/addiction, unmanaged mental illness, violence and aggression, neglect, physical and sexual abuse and criminal behavior.
When parents are not able or willing to make the changes necessary to demonstrate that they can care for their children in safe and healthy ways their parental rights may be terminated. Under state law, only a judge can decide to terminate parental rights of an individual. In a situation where parents recognize that they are unable to care for their children they can voluntarily terminate their parental rights but even in this type of situation a judge must make a finding that this is in the best interest of the children involved.
Federal and state laws recognize the importance for children to have permanency and stability in their lives in order to develop in normal, healthy and productive ways. Permanency must be addressed within six months of coming into care if the child is under 8 years of age and within one year when a child is 8 years of age or older.
When these time lines are exhausted the child must be placed in an adoptive home or legal custody transferred permanently to a relative. The case manager continues to work with the parents as the case moves through the court process.
Crow Wing County has 74 licensed foster homes. Of those homes, 49 are licensed by Crow Wing County. Of those 49, 36 are permanency homes. There are an additional 25 foster homes in Crow Wing County that are licensed by other agencies.
If you are interested in learning more about becoming a foster parent please contact Amanda Crandall, Crow Wing County foster care licensor at 824-7015, or visit the county website at www.co.crow-wing.mn.us
Crow Wing County Community Services provides Children’s Mental Health, Child Protection and Child Welfare services to families. In 2011, over 250 families and 750 children were served. The agency is dedicated serving with compassion to promote and protect the health, well-being and self-sufficiency of all residents of Crow Wing County.