Opening doors to children who need a family

The Independent reported on two inspirational stories in Wednesday’s edition.

First, the Independent reported on the Yellow Medicine County Services telling board members the department received high marks from an audit report.

“We received 100 percent on nearly every item,” Family Services Associate Melissa Helgeson said.

Out-of-home placement of children is among the many services that the department provides.

The second story was of the Echo couple attempting to adopt a 6-year-old boy from Missouri. The fact that this couple already have five children, made it inspirational.

Both stories remind us of the need of such services and adults willing to help out children needing homes.

According to the most recent federal data, there are currently more than 400,000 children in foster care in the United States. They range in age from infants to 21 years old (in some states). The average age of a child in foster care is more than 8 years old, and there are slightly more boys than girls.

There are a number of reasons why these children enter foster care. Often times they have been neglected, abused or abandoned. All of these children have experienced loss and some form of trauma.

Each year, approximately 20,000 youth will age out of the foster care system when they turn 18 or 21, or when they finish high school (depending upon the state in which they live). These children are at increased risk of poor educational outcomes, experiencing homelessness, and being unemployed.

So we applaud the Yellow Medicine County Services department and Echo”s TJ and Heather Gniffke for making a difference.