Zwart family honored

Seen here left to right are: DCF Secretary Eloise Anderson, State Senator Jennifer Shilling, State Representative Steve Doyle, Diana Zwart and Doug Zwart of LaCrosse (with foster children), First Lady Tonette Walker, and DCF Asst. Dep. Sec. Sara Buschman (at podium).

Foster parents Doug and Diana Zwart of La Crosse were honored last week with the 2015 Governor’s Foster Care Award for their work with children in La Crosse County.

“Foster Care Month gives us an opportunity to thank the families who care for the vulnerable children in Wisconsin who have to be removed from their homes,” Wisconsin first lady Tonette Walker said. “Foster parents play a critical role in helping these children take the first step of their journey towards healing and recovery.”

Foster parents since 2013, the Zwarts have taken exceptional measures to keep birth families involved in their foster children’s lives. The Zwarts have accepted placements of children with Native American heritage and have ensureed that they are respectful of tribal traditions. During one placement, the Zwarts made several trips to South Dakota to ensure that the children were remained connected to their family and their culture.

“For those times when children cannot remain at home, foster families step in to keep them safe, nurture them, and give them a place to call home,” Department of Children and Families Secretary Eloise Anderson said.

Walker and Anderson recognized the Zwarts, along with 13 other outstanding foster parents from throughout Wisconsin, at a ceremony at the state Capitol.

There are about 7,000 Wisconsin children living in out-of-home care. For more information about becoming a foster parent, visit dcf.wisconsin.gov/children/foster.

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