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Foster homes needed for thousands of Minnesota children

The need for foster homes has increased in part due to the growing opioid epidemic.

There is a quiet crisis growing in Minnesota -- thousands of children across the state are in desperate need of foster homes.

According to the Minnesota Department of Human Services, the number of children needing a foster home has doubled in just the past five years. This year alone some 17,000 children will need temporary, out-of-home placements. The jump linked, in part, to the growing opioid epidemic.

And with it comes a shortage of foster homes. That’s why officials are going to new lengths to recruit foster parents.

About a quarter of Minnesota’s children in foster care are in Hennepin County. Instead of traditional ads on bus benches or billboards, the county has now gone to a completely digital campaign, using Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, hoping that by putting a face to the problem will make a difference.

And it’s working.

Since launching the digital campaign, Hennepin County officials say they’ve seen attendance at its information sessions for prospective foster families nearly double, thanks to a younger generation now answering the call.

The state is also doing its part to make sure they’re always there to help, creating a first-of-its kind resource called, The Fostering Network. It lays out the licensing process, classes, training and any information needed when considering fostering or wanting to start the process.