At any given time, approximately 8,000 children are in foster care in Wisconsin and 40-50 youths need a foster home.

At 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 20, county foster care coordinator Dawn Douglas-Mellom will be presenting at the library on how to become a foster parent and make a difference in a child’s life.

Foster children are often victims of abuse or neglect, affected by domestic violence or alcohol or drug abuse, impacted by mental illness, or do not have a strong support network to help them cope with everyday challenges, according to the county’s foster care website. Youth who are provided a safe and stable environment to escape these situations are less likely to become homeless or incarcerated as adults, the website read.

Douglas-Mellom will cover topics regarding foster parenting, including what it takes to get licensed as a foster parent, employer questionnaires, background checks, a physical, disclosing recent information from any personal therapy and a home inspection.

For information, contact Douglas-Mellom at Dane County Foster Care by calling 242-6303, or visiting

Neal Patten, Verona Community Reporter, can be contacted at