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Foster community mourns loss of long-time giver Richards

KRISTINA VISE

During the month of February, the Pike County Department of Human Resources is celebrating the commitment of all foster and adoptive parents in the area.

DHR especially like to recognizes the life of Minnie Mae Jackson Richards, a foster parent in Pike County for more than 10 years. Richards died Feb. 2.

“The department is mourning her passing,” a statement from DHR read. “She was an outstanding foster parent, taking children that often had no other appropriate resource in their lives and loving them as if they were her own.”

“She would take the children nobody else wanted,” resource social worker and quality assurance coordinator Patty Faircloth said.

Richards fostered nine children though DHR and the United Methodist Foster Care Program.

“At first, nine children in 10 years may not seem like much,” Faircloth said.

“But she didn’t just keep these kids for a week or two. She kept them until they were emancipated from the system.” Children are emancipated when the courts rule they are old enough to support themselves, usually around age 18 or 21.

Richards had a strong and positive impact on the lives of the children she fostered.

“They would often come back to visit or live with her even as adults,” Faircloth said.

The love her biological and fostered family has for Richards was visible even after her death.

A poem entitled “A Tribute to Mom” was included in the funeral program from one of her foster daughters, despite the fact that Richards was not the woman’s legal mother.

“The children she fostered felt as if they were a permanent part of her family,” Faircloth said.

A statement from DRH said due to her contributions to children in need of a home, Richards has been nominated for Foster Parent of the Year.

“Her smile helped our youth smile and for that, she will be forever missed,” the DHR statement read.