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Foster Care Provides Safe Homes

October 10, 2012, 6:05 PM by Don Jorgensen

Foster Care Provides Safe Homes

Tuesday night we told you about the 15-year-old Sioux Falls girl who turned in her own mother to police for allegedly making methamphetamine in their home. That girl along with four of her siblings are now in protective custody with the Department of Social Services waiting for a foster family.

Sadly stories like that are becoming all too familiar.

"I think there's a bigger need than what people realize," foster parent Alisha DeHaan said.

DeHaan is just one of 160 foster parents in Minnehaha County.  After having fertility issues, she and her husband decided this would be one way to help lots of needy children.

"I've had 22 different children through my house and each one has taught me something different," DeHaan said.

For confidential reasons, we had to interview DeHaan at the Department of Social Services, because the state agency doesn't want birth parents to know where their kids have been placed. 

Children are removed from their homes for various reasons.

On Tuesday the judge said Tammara King and Eric Lee Johnson posed a danger to the community and were charged with child abuse for allegedly making meth in their home on West 12th Street where at least five kids were living.

"Sioux Falls is growing, as Sioux Falls grows child protection issues grow, there is a big need for children who are going into foster care, therefore we have a need for foster parents," Anita Bailey with Department of Social Services said.

Bailey says the Department's number one goal is to keep kids safe. And sometimes that means removing them from their homes for up to a year or perhaps even longer. But most are allowed to go back home within the first 12 months.

"You see them return to their birth family, which is our number one priority is to have children go back to their birth families," Bailey said.

And foster parents like DeHaan are part of that process that she says is filled with rewards.

"They've taught me patience they've taught me to be a better mom, they come with different stories, they're amazing children who have been in some bad situations," DeHaan said.

In most cases, parents are allowed to visit their children at the Department of Social Services.

If you'd like to become a foster parent or have questions you can contact the DSS in Sioux Falls at (605)334-3431 or in Rapid City at (605)343-2598 or click here to visit the DSS web site.

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