Just in case you missed it….


FISH welcomed 36 attendees to the June 10 meeting. FISH partners and affiliates filled 16 needs in May with a value of $9,192. Stacy Finlon, Marketing Communications Coordinator with SmartLink Transit, explained a new transit program coming to Scott County – Hop Scott – which will provide rides to the communities of Belle Plaine, Elko New Market, Jordan and New Prague. More information is on the attached PowerPoint. Gretchen Young, Licensing Supervisor in Scott County, gave an overview of the licensing programs beginning with Adult Foster Care. Populations served include vulnerable adults and children with severe emotional or behavioral challenges. Scott County has 21 family based, 42 community residential (group homes) and two corporate providers. More information and statistics are contained in the attached PowerPoint. Katie Myler was the next speaker. She has been providing care since 2007 to four women at a time and has had seven ladies at her home during this time. She also provides respite care to an individual when one of her ladies is with her family. She can only have four total at a time. Her goal is to make a difference in their lives and provide care so their families don’t need to worry about them. Katie’s children have benefited and learned skills as a result. One of her daughters works with Special Olympics and another started a nonprofit, Threads for Teens. Caring for these women is a lifestyle, living alongside them and their families. They plan activities around those they serve. The women range in age from 25 to 56. They work on life skills with them, but none of them will ever be able to live on their own. If Katie’s family goes on vacation her mother stays with the ladies. Next Gretchen explained that children end up in foster care for several reasons including, physical, emotional or sexual abuse, neglect or parent substance abuse. They partner with Child Protection to serve these children. More information, including a You Tube video, is in the PowerPoint. Goals of children’s foster include keeping children safe, keeping them with relatives if possible and supporting the family in reunification. There is an increased need for foster care due to drug use by parents. Beth Suarez, who has been a foster care provider for over two years, shared her experiences. She and her husband have five children of their own. She has cared for a three year old and an infant in the past two years and still has contact with these children and parents. Nancy Berndt, licensor in Scott County, spoke next. There has been a decrease in child care homes in the county and increased regulations. Some statistics are available in the PowerPoint. Carrie Speikers, licensed child care provider in Scott County, spoke next. She has a C-3 license with her husband for up to 14 kids and has been a provider since 2004. She is able to be her own boss and earn a living while at home with her own children. A bond develops with the families she cares for and they become close. The children hep prepare meals. Infant care is difficult to find and often parents need to go outside the community and county to find care. Deb Bodensteiner, Executive Director of Treehouse/The Well Ministries, was the next speaker. They have two locations for teens to gather: Bridgewood Church in Savage and The Well Youth Center in New Prague. These Crisis and Ongoing Mental Health Supports Location: Virtual Zoom Meeting Date: June 10, 2021 9:30 – 11:00 a.m.locations provide a safe place for teens to hang out and offer encouragement, love and emotional support. Fifty students are provided meals and transportation on Tuesdays and Thursdays in Savage and Mondays and Thursdays in New Prague. Meals for the youth (seventh through twelfth grades) are being provided through the end of this year through FISH and Cara’s Scott County volunteers. There is a rise in anxiety and depression since the pandemic. Substance abuse is also an issue and three youth have been hospitalized. They are offering Kwik Trip gift cards for consistent attendance at the centers. Kaycee Stanley, Executive Director of The Reel Hope Project, was the last speaker. There are currently 10,000 kids in foster care in Minnesota. Reel Hope works with children of parents who have had their parental rights terminated. They have been in existence for four and a half years and worked with one child from Scott County through a private agency. They would love to work with Scott County. Their goal is to make a video of every child in the state who is waiting for a forever family. The social worker determines the level of exposure of the video. To learn more about this program and see videos click here: The Reel Hope Project | Creating Videos of Minnesota Kids Waiting To Be Adopted. Announcements: – July 8 2 nd Thursday FISH meeting: Nevya Nava, Vice Chair of the Shakopee Diversity Alliance – 2 nd Harvest food distribution on the second Thursday of each month at Friendship Church in Prior Lake –

Hop Scott_FISH_ 06-10-2021                    June 10 2021 Licensing FISH Presentation

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Shakopee, MN