May is Foster Care Month in OT County

Contributed photo
Otter Tail County Human Services Stephanie Olson, Children and Families Unit Supervisor and Jody Dahlen, Child Foster Care Licensor.

The Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners has proclaimed May as Foster Care Month. They encourage residents to volunteer their talents and energies on behalf of children and adults who live with foster families, the foster care providers, and the professional staff working with them during this month and throughout the year.  

Nicole Burrows and her family have opened their home to foster children for the last six years. 

“We’re not rich, we don’t have a big home, but we have love and stability,” she said. “It’s amazing and our kids benefit too.”

Family foster care provides a safe, secure and stable home for children and adults in a compassionate and nurturing family setting. Otter Tail County Human Services has 41 licensed foster families who play a vital role helping children and families heal, reconnect, and launch children into successful adulthood. 

There are also 38 licensed family adult foster care providers, who have opened their homes to provide a family environment to people with developmental disabilities, mental illness or who are elderly.

“Otter Tail County is fortunate to have dedicated, caring families that serve our most vulnerable children.  This includes both relative and non-relative homes,” Jody Dahlen, Child Foster Care Licensor/ICPC Social Worker, said. “Their compassion and commitment to the children is exceptional.”

Otter Tail County Human Services licenses foster care homes. To support families, a monthly foster care parent in-person support group is offered. 

Those interested in opening their homes to foster care can email Jody at jdahlen@co.ottertail.mn.us or call 218-998-8101 and she can answer questions and upon request an initial licensing packet will be sent. Staff is available to answer questions and support applicants through the licensure process.

“Being a foster parent isn’t scary,” said Alison Olson, a local foster care provider. “There is so much joy in the journey. There are other emotions along the way as well, but the joy carries you through.”