SAUK RAPIDS - Would you be willing to open your home for a while to a child in need? One local foster family urges you to consider the possibility.

Sauk Rapids resident Amanda DeMars says the decision to become a foster mother was a simple one. The 33 year-old mother of four boys watched her parents take in foster kids all through her own childhood.

Now, years later, Amanda carries on the legacy; she and her husband Dan have fostered over 50 kids throughout the past 12 years.

Amanda says they exclusively foster kids from birth to 5 years old. She says there's really no way to know when or for how long a child will need a foster home. They've had placements range from 24 hours to 16 months, with kids arriving at their home in the middle of night at times.

Amanda says, yes, life as a foster parents can get chaotic, but it pays off when she recognizes the impact she's having in a child's life.

Amanda says she and her husband receive about 12 hours of continued training every year from Benton County. As for Dan, he didn't know much about fostering before he married Amanda. However, he says it has become a big part of who they both are.

Amanda says many times, kids come into their homes feeling lost and abandoned, so their goal is to remind them that there are people out there who will be there to help during transitional times.

Right now, Benton County is seeking more people like the DeMars family. They're particularly in need of people willing to offer temporary homes for older kids and teens in the east St. Cloud area. You must be 21 years old, can be single or married, a homeowner or renter with an extra room and a sincere desire to help.

If foster parenting sounds like something you'd like to learn more about, visit Benton County's online resource center.

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