County honors area foster care providers

Washington County honored its foster care providers with a recognition event at the Lake Elmo Event Center on Tuesday, May 8, especially recognizing those care givers who have reached milestone years in their care giving.

The county has 48 adult family providers who provide emergency, respite and on-going placements to vulnerable adults. There are 50 child providers in Washington County.

“Every child, every adult who comes through your door, you make a difference,” Rick Backman, community services manager, told the group.

Washington County had 213 youth in out-of-home placement in 2011, said Commissioner Dennis Hegberg, county board chair from District 1, and 135 of them were in foster care.

These are youth who need to be cared for by a relative other than a parent or non-relative foster parent, youth who have been deemed truant or delinquent, and youth who are dealing with mental health issues or developmental disabilities, Hegberg said.

Foster care providers also care for vulnerable adults, who may have mental health challenges, are homeless, or who have physical or developmental disabilities or are elderly.

Hegberg thanked the group for their work, and said, “I especially have to thank you for your hearts, because you give up so much when you care for these people.”

County commissioners Autumn Lehrke, District 4, and Lisa Weik, District 5, assisted in handing out awards and congratulated the care givers who reached noted milestones in their years of care.

While all foster care providers are noted in the event’s program, those with milestone years of service are especially honored.

Those care givers licensed in the past year were honored, those licensed between April 2011 and March 31, 2012. The group included 16 adult, kin and child providers who were licensed during this time period. Area residents honored were:

•Becky and Jim Dibble, child providers, Forest Lake;

•Candi Novotny, relative child provider, Hugo;

•Cindy and Joe Radatz, child providers, Forest Lake;

•Molly Stromme, adult provider, Forest Lake.

Each year, foster care providers who reach milestones are honored at the annual event. Area residents honored for five years of service this year include:

•Crystal Ford, Forest Lake, along with Travis Schreiber, provides relative foster care.

•Dustin Frazier, Scandia, provides care to elderly residents in rural Scandia. He works closely with his mother, Diane Thom.

•Kelly Schoenecker, child foster provider who cares for young children from child protection, Forest Lake.

Those honored for 10 years of service are:

•Patricia and Robert Parker, Forest Lake, who provide respite care for one young man.

•Diane Thom, Scandia, who provides care for a mix of elderly and younger folks with difficult cares.