The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Appreciation event held for foster families


May 18, 2019

Bryan Hellios/Daily Globe

FOSTER FAMILIES launched sky lanterns at Depot Park during the Great Lakes Recovery Center's foster parent appreciation day.


Ironwood - Families from Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon counties sent 63 paper lanterns hurtling skyward during an appreciation event for Great Lakes Recovery Center's foster care program at Depot Park Thursday.

Mandy Harris, the program's regional resource team specialist, said each lantern symbolizes a foster family in the tri-county region.

"It's through events like this that we can train, provide support and recruit foster families," she said.

Foster parent Michelle Niemi said she and her husband have two children of their own and are currently raising three foster children.

"There is a really high need in our county," she said. "There's are a lot more kids in care then we actually have homes for."

Part of that need, according to Harris, stems from the area's issues with drug addiction.

The lack of homes causes children to be placed further away, Niemi said, making it harder to reunite the child with their family.

Niemi said she has been licensed as a foster parent for three years and had nine foster kids so far.

With both parents working full-time, she said daycare for foster parents is provided.

"When you're foster parents, daycare is covered by the state," she said. "So you don't have to worry about the extra cost."

She said bonds are often formed with the biological parents.

"It's really nice to see the difference you can make with the kids," she said.

For more information on becoming foster parents, call 1-855-michkids.


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