Fostering in the UP: Child and Welfare Services say the process is well worth the reward

A Child Welfare Specialist explains the process of becoming a foster parent.
Published: May. 29, 2023 at 1:03 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - With the need for foster parents at an all-time high in the U.P., Child & Family Services of the U.P. says the process is long but worth it.

Child Welfare Specialist Courtney Joffee said the process starts with a meet and greet with a parent foster parent via Zoom.

The main goal of the meet and greet is to find out what you’re looking for.

“What kind of age groups and what foster care is all about make sure it is the right thing for you and your family. If it is something that you want to proceed with, then I will come out to your house for an orientation and a walkthrough of your house and start the paperwork process.”

Joffee also said they are mostly looking for foster parents that want to work reunification with the child’s biological parents.

She and her husband are also licensed foster parents and they had their first placement in 2020. Then in 2021, they were able to actually able adopt her.

“It was not an easy process,” Joffee said. “She had a lot of trauma past in her life, but she has become a beautiful little girl and we love our daughter very much.”

Another Marquette foster/adoptive parent Barb Olsen said her experience with her foster child started after she was first introduced to her through her job.

Then Olsen asked the then-16-year-old Alissa if she wanted to have dinner with her.

“We had a great conversation at dinner,” Olsen said. “It was really good. It was easy and she walked into my house, and she sat on the couch right next to me, and she said, ‘I’m not going anywhere,’ and that pretty much sealed the deal as far as we were concerned.”

Olsen said she then adopted Alissa two months before she turned 17.

Olsen and her daughter have recently started a candle making non-profit to provide gifts for other foster children.