Marathon County Thanks Its Local Foster Families for Helping Children in Need

Written by Sara Klebenow

On June 13, 2018, Marathon County Social Services held its annual picnic at Doepke Park in Rib Mountain to show support and appreciation to our foster families. The event was well attended, with approximately 140 people, representing 18 area foster families and their children, along with Marathon County Social Services staff.


Marathon County Administrator Brad Karger (and his adorable dog, Pierre), as well as Social Services board member Amy Arlen, attended to meet the families and show their support and appreciation.

Foster parent Jackie Bohn poses with Brad Karger’s Papillon, Pierre, at the Marathon County summer picnic celebrating the dedication of our local foster families.

On behalf of the community, Karger expressed his gratitude to volunteers who opened their homes to a child in need. Additionally, he offered a message of hope to the children that their lives would get easier and that the foster parents and social workers were working hard on their family’s reunification and giving them a stronger start to a future of success in school and in life.

As a small token of the County’s appreciation, each foster family received “Turn a Life Around” T-shirts, as well as gift bags for each child in their home. Staff planned several activities for the foster families to participate in, including face painting, Plinko, and time to play on the fabulous playground at Doepke Park. All foster families in attendance were entered to win several door prizes generously donated by area businesses and agency staff.

The picnic was a great opportunity for foster parents to get to know one another, meet agency staff, and have fun together as a family. The event was also a great way for Marathon County to show its appreciation to our foster parents and the critical role they play in our community. It was a beautiful day to celebrate some very wonderful and cherished people.

Marathon County foster parents in attendance were recognized at the 2018 summer picnic at Doepke Park for their dedication to children in need in our community. Of particular note are Karen and Ralph Weeks (fourth and fifth from the right), who have been licensed foster parents since 1975. They’ve fostered over 200 children over the years and continue to make a positive difference for local children whom Marathon County Social Services places in their loving home.

But we’re in need of more… The demand for foster parents is at an all-time high.

Take this short quiz to see if foster parenting might be right for you:

  1. Have you been told you have a way with children?
  2. Are you the type of person who can look beyond behavior and what people are saying to understand what they really want and need?
  3. Do you enjoy making a real difference in the life of a child?
  4. Are you interested in personal growth?

If you answered yes to two or more of these questions, consider how YOU could enrich your life by opening your home to a foster child in need in Marathon County.

Foster Care - Change-a-lifetime

If you’d like to learn more about foster parenting, please call 715-261-7553 or email

Very few of our foster parents ever regret providing a safe and nurturing home to a child in need, and so many create relationships that last a lifetime.

Turn a life around — Become a foster parent TODAY!

Sara_KlebenowSara Klebenow

Foster Care Coordinator  |  Marathon County Department of Social Services

Sara Klebenow has been the Foster Care Coordinator for Marathon County DSS since 2010. She began her social work career as a Child Protective Services Worker in Marathon County in 2000. Over the years, Sara has worked with numerous children and families and has found her work foster families to be extremely satisfying and rewarding. Sara works closely with other area Foster Care Coordinators and the Department of Children & Families.  Email Sara Klebenow.

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