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PATH: The Need for Foster Families in ND

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PATH NDPATH ND, Inc., a private nonprofit child and family services agency, works to “help kids and families achieve lifelong successes,” according to Chris Martin, MSSW, LICSW, social work supervisor for PATH. The organization achieves this through a model based around a family centered approach to treatment.

The ultimate goal of PATH is to find a permanent home for foster children. Choices may be reunification with family, adoption, aging out of care, etc.

In 2010, PATH provided services to 1,056 youth and families in North Dakota. There are currently 360 treatment level foster families in the state of North Dakota and 130 in Region 5 (Fargo and surrounding area). In order to keep foster children in the state, PATH has set a goal to increase the total number of foster families in Region 5 by 20. To achieve this goal, they will need 40 to 45 new families to join the program, as there are typically 20 or more families who drop from the program every year due to retirement, adoption, moving out of the region, etc.

Martin points out, “Anyone can consider becoming a foster parent from a professional to a stay at home mom to a home daycare provider; people who are single, married or in a committed relationship. They can live in a house or an apartment.” To qualify, participants need to minimally:
- be at least 21 years old.
- live in ND.
- have adequate space in your home for an additional child.
- complete the necessary licensing process and mandatory PATH training (32 hours per year.)
- enjoy children or as Martin says “find satisfaction in helping [children] heal and grow.”

PATH requires more training than is required in regular foster care. This is because PATH is considered treatment level where children require the help of trained foster parents to help them cope with difficult circumstances. PATH helps to coordinate the required trainings as well as working with both the foster parents and birth parents to help orchestrate the permanency plan.

Due to the higher levels of training and care required by PATH, the per diem allotment for foster parents is $42 per day, per child to help with living expenses and required care. PATH foster parents also choose the children they bring into their home through an extensive matching process. There is a “critical need” according to Martin for qualified foster parents in the area.

Learn more about PATH at www.pathnd.org.

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