On the list of smoke-free spaces, we can now add foster care homes as one of them. Beltrami County has recently passed an ordinance to make foster homes smoke-free, and now the whole state is following suit.
The Beltrami County Health and Human Services has 57 foster homes that are now on board with the County’s new smoke-free policy. The policy began enforcement since last Fall, and many supported the idea of protecting foster children from secondhand smoke.
According to the American Lung Association, nearly 80 percent of children who live in foster homes have at least one chronic medical condition. Currently, two companion bills in the State Senate and House are up for review this session. If passed, the bills would make all foster homes in the state, including those under private agencies, smoke-free. In Minnesota, seven counties and one reservation have passed smoke-free foster care policies, but the goal is to have this policy become a statewide law this year.