Message Dear Mike, I’m writing to you in hope that you would be able to help or answer some questions.

My brother Matt has been in prison for the last 5 years. His wife is now in Anoka County jail.

She has been in and out of jail for the last 5 years. They have 2 children ages 4 and 7 who are currently living with us.

I have cared for the boys on and off for the last 5 years. The longest period of time they lived with us was in 2008 and it was for 6 months.

Mom has been in and out of jail, more times than I can keep track. I’ve tried to get social service involved because she is a drug user and doing real harm to her children.

While she is in jail the boys do not officially have a legal guardian.

The 7 year old lives with us during the school year and he is a very bright little boy.

My husband and I have tried to do the “right” thing and care for the little boys.

We have 4 biological children and at times it is very difficult to manage our household.

Just recently mom went back to jail and I wanted to become a foster care parent to our nephews.

I was seeking financial assistance in order to pay for pre-school/daycare for the boys.

I had hoped for some financial help with daycare for the boys but, there is a 2 + year waiting list.

Which brings me to today.

In order for me receive foster care assistance I have to call the police and to have the boys put into child protective services.

This sounds scary and drastic when I just need a little financial assistance to help our family afford daycare for our nephews.

Is it possible that the only way we can have help with day care is to put the boys into a police car and make them live in a group home or with a strange family?

This does not seem right.

Any advice you could give would greatly be appreciated. Sincerely, H T

Dear H,
You and your nephews are the reason exists.

It is because the only people that know about how this system works seems to be the people caught inside of it.

There are no easy answers I’m afraid. Budgets are tight and our last Governor cut things back so badly that I was charged with taking children away from a father who could not afford day care (when I was an active guardian ad-litem).

It could be that a signed note recommending you as foster parents from your sister in law (and brother?) might be helpful in getting some help from the system, but I can’t be too optimist

Nationally, there are about seven million grandparents and other relatives caring for children in the U.S. with very little assistance from any government body.

In the words of Tim Pawlenty, “children that are victims of failed personal responsibility are not my problem, nor are they the problem of the state of Minnesota”. MN kinship org might have some ideas for you as they work with grandparents and other family members

another wonderful local organization is MN Adoptive Resources;

Please call your state representative (and the Governors office) and send them the email (or this link) that you sent to me and talk about this to your friends and neighbors.

There are far too few resources available for children’s needs. If you don’t call, things will stay this way.

Thank you for your commitment to children.

My very best wishes,



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  1. talk to the children’s protective services in your area and see what they say. i think you would still need to become a certified foster parent.

  2. Where I live a relative placement doesn’t have to go through the full licensing
    Process – talk to cps or an attorney. Guardianship is
    Also an option. For financial assistance see if food stAmps
    Are at least a possibility. Sorry for the typos – it’s this phone. Good luck

  3. Whatever you do..DO NOT voluntarily give up any children to the state system..or believe that they are only going to help you..It will destroy your entire life.

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