New Foster Care Coordinator Brings 30 Years of Experience to Area Families

Monday, March 01, 2021

Martha GutierrezMartha Gutierrez, a 30-year veteran in behavioral health and social services, joined Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota as the new therapeutic foster care coordinator serving west central Minnesota.  

On an average day, there are approximately 9,300 children and young adults in care, according to most recent statistics from the Minnesota Department of Human Services. Lutheran Social Service recruits foster families, provides specialized training and in-home support to families and children, and offers intensive mental health services to promote healing and address each child’s unique needs. 

“Martha brings a wealth of experience in behavioral health and social services,” said Jodi Raidt, statewide program manager with LSS Therapeutic Foster Care. “We are excited about her leadership experience, bilingual Spanish skill set, and passion for strengthening communities through therapeutic foster care.”

Previously, Gutierrez worked for the County of San Bernardino Department of Behavioral Health for more 30 years before she retired from her position as a social worker.

She earned her communications degree from the University of California, San Bernardino, with an emphasis in human communication and a minor in public relations.

Gutierrez also worked as a health scholar with the Research Infrastructure in Minority Institute. Her research included the influence of community aesthetics on health and wellbeing, as well as factors in access to healthcare and healthcare outcomes.

“My time as a health scholar taught me how to identify areas that need services and how to improve access to resources that communities need to be healthy and self-sufficient,” Gutierrez said. “I hope to bring my more than 30 years of experience, knowledge and training to the Alexandria and Willmar areas to help children and families thrive in the fostering process and beyond.”

Gutierrez said that foster parents are needed. Ideal foster parents have love and patience for children, a willingness to learn about the unique needs of each child, a flexible work schedule and stable housing. To learn more about foster care, including who is eligible to become a foster care provider, how to become licensed, the children in foster care, foster parenting options and resources available to foster parents, visit or call 320.424.3859.