MARQUETTE — “Ultimately you just need to be someone that has a lot of love and nurturing to give.”

From the time they’re born until they’re 18 years of age, some children due to end up in the foster care system. The reasons for being placed in foster care vary.

Sharon Matulewicz works for U.P. KIDS, an organization that helps place kids in foster care. She says when it comes time to make a decision on what to do with kids, they aim to keep multiple siblings together and when possible, with another family member.

“We need a variety of placements at any given moment,” said Matulewicz. “Obviously the state’s priority is to try and maintain the children in their relative network if at all possible, but that’s not always possible. When that happens, we do need to seek placements in a licensed foster home.”

Matulewicz says you don’t have to be married, financially rich or own a home to be Foster Parent. Being a foster parent can be a very rewarding experience.

“What people don’t realize is they may be one of the first outlets of routine, structure and consistency that these children have seen in a very difficult and traumatizing time in a child’s life,” said Matulewicz. “You’re a constant and safe placement for that child.”

There is currently a large need for homes and families to take in teenagers.

“A lot of homes are willing to take the younger ages but not the teenage children,” said Matulewicz. “When that happens unfortunately we’re in a position where we’re maybe looking at splitting up sibling groups which we never like to do. It only increases the trauma of the situation.”

U.P. KIDS serves the entire Upper Peninsula. If you’re interested in becoming a foster parent, contact U.P. KIDS by clicking HERE.