REDWOOD FALLS - In an effort to share information and ideas on how to best work together for Minnesota's children in foster care, Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson and Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lori Gildea met with area legal and social services personnel Friday at the Redwood Area Community Center.
The stop was the second of seven Children's Justice Initiative (CJI) visits around the state involving judges, court staff, social service directors and staff.
The mission of CJI is to ensure abused and neglected children are placed in the juvenile protection court system in a fair and timely manner with safe, stable, permanent families.
Gildea said numbers have declined in recent years, but there are more than 11,200 Minnesota children in out-of-home placement, primarily foster homes, and about 50 foster children in Renville and Redwood Counties.
"We need to find permanent homes with a safe, healthy environments especially for older kids often left in foster care until age 18," Gildea added.
Jesson said CJI encourages judges, social workers and agencies to work closely to develop and implement best practices like better searches for relatives to help foster children grow up to be competent, caring, contributing adults.
"We need people willing to adopt foster kids, especially older kids in their teens," Jesson added. "There are many kids that are abused, neglected, or both.
She urged interested potential foster parents to contact their county human service offices and the Minnesota Department of Human Services.
Guildea praised counties with truancy plans. She encouraged each county to utilize their personnel strengths and further their achievements before reporting back to Gildea, Jesson and the CJI next fall.
For more information, visit www.dhs.state.mn.us
Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.