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Foster families needed in western, central North Dakota

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 1:31 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - When kids are placed into foster care, they’re put in a home with another family, where hopefully they’ll get a safe, stable and nurturing environment.

Right now in western and central North Dakota, there’s a critical need for foster families; there just aren’t enough licensed foster families to help all the kids in need.

Marisa Misek is a busy mom to two young boys. She’s also a foster mom to two more kids. It’s a life she never knew she would grow to love.

Nearly five years ago, she and her husband, Jeremy, decided to get licensed for foster care, to sort of test the parenting waters.

“We didn’t know if we wanted to have kids of our own or adopt or not have kids at all,” Misek explained.

They started out doing respite care, giving other foster families a break.

“It was both challenging and rewarding but we decided that we wanted to continue to provide that for other families as well as in children,” she said.

There is a big need for families like the Miseks right now. More than two dozen kids in western and central North Dakota are currently waiting to be placed in foster care. The pandemic and canceled events and restrictions have made placements and recruiting new foster families more difficult than ever before.

“It’s been really hard to kind of get the word out there. There are still just as many kids coming into care with COVID, we just don’t have the opportunities of expanding our foster homes as easily,” said Jamie Anderson, a social worker with Nexus Family Healing. She handles recruitment and licensing in the Bismarck and Dickinson areas.

So for now, they’ll rely on word of mouth and on foster parents like Misek.

Misek says when they first started fostering, she wasn’t sure what to expect, but years later, she sees many benefits.

“I think it’s made me a better mom as well, kind of preparing me for our two little ones, but also just well-rounded kind of just being more patient and more understanding of where other people are at,” she said.

Lessons she credits to her time as a foster mom.

You can learn more about becoming a foster parent at nexusfamilyhealing.org.

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