Training aims to reduce kids in foster care

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DUNN COUNTY, N.D. - Hundreds of child protection workers across North Dakota are learning new ways of keeping children safe without removing them from their homes and into foster care. The training is part of a broader change in child protection assessment.

The overall goal is still the same: safe environments for children to grow up in. Some of the child service workers say the way we achieve that goal needs to change from 25 years ago.

The training included looking at new scales to judge the safety of a child in a particular setting.

Gayle Pender-Dukart has worked as a child protection social worker in Dunn County for 25 years. She says over the years, the research has shown as long as it's safe to do so, the home is the best place for the child and this training could cut down the number of kids in foster care.

“That is ultimately our goal here and through this training, we're hopefully going to be able to receive more tools so that we can be able to keep kids at home and safe,” said Pender-Dukart.

As of September 12, there were 1,533 kids in North Dakota's foster care system.