May is Foster Care Awareness Month :: Honoring Marathon County Foster Families

Written by Sara Klebenow

May is National Foster Care Awareness Month and a special time to honor the foster families who provide care for many children in our community. We are so thankful for all the families who foster a future for a child. Foster families provide care on a short-term or long-term basis with the goal of reuniting children with their biological families. Currently, Marathon County has 55 licensed foster families, each uniquely equipped to provide care for specific ages and needs of children.

Marathon County Thanks Its Local Foster Families for Helping Children in  Need – Wisconsin Central Time NEWS

Children are often placed in foster care because their families are unable to provide care for them. While it may be necessary to remove children from their homes due to safety reasons, it is often traumatizing to them. Foster parents help children thrive by showing them love, support, and providing a nurturing environment. Foster families connect with birth parents and work together to provide the best experience for the children, while also receiving ongoing support from social workers at the Department of Social Services. It truly takes a team to care for a child, and foster parents are an essential part.

We appreciate everything our Marathon County foster families do for the families we work with and the community.  This past year, we organized several events to show our gratitude.  We held drive thru events at Halloween and Christmas where families could collect some goodies and take fun photos. We also held a private sledding event at Sylvan Hill, a fun day at the local trampoline park, and an appreciation picnic.

Foster parents gather for a picture at the 2021 appreciation picnic. (Photo courtesy of Marathon County Social Services).

Would you like to join this team of foster parents, and be a page in a child’s forever story?

The circumstances that require out-of-home care placements are often challenging for children. Foster homes provide the safe and loving hands that allow children to thrive during a difficult time. The greatest need in Marathon County is for families to care for teens and sibling groups. We have many youth in need of a caregiver to provide them a loving home and the skills needed to prepare for independence. We also have a strong need for homes able to care for sibling groups.  

Although not everyone can be a foster parent, there are several other ways to support children and families.

One way is to become a respite provider to periodically care for a child.   Respite providers not only help other caregivers get a much-needed break, but also help provide additional opportunities for socialization for the children.  Another support is provided through several local churches, who have partnered with Welcomed to develop care communities.  Welcomed volunteers help foster families in their congregations with meals, transportation, childcare, or mentoring.    

“Why Foster?” video. (Video courtesy of the Coalition for Children, Youth & Families.)

If you or someone you know is interested in Foster Care, please connect with Marathon County Foster Care on Facebook or call Marathon County Social Services at 715-261-7500. We would be happy to provide information on our next informational meetings where you can learn more about foster care, ask questions, and find out the next steps to take to become a foster parent. You would be part of an amazing team because our Marathon County Foster parents are the best!

To learn more about foster care, visit

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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