Longtime local foster parent kept kids safe from horrors

By Michael Tsai

POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Apr 11, 2011

There is no happy circumstance by which a child is placed in foster care. But for nearly 900 kids over the past 19 years, there has at least been the consolation that Linda Dean and her family were there to quell their fears, tend to their hurts and make “the system” feel a lot more like that thing called home.

Dean, 62, insists she’s just one small part of a network of foster families, social workers and administrators — an overburdened community of child advocates too often tainted by the misdeeds of a malign few — who are committed to providing care and shelter to Hawaii children who need it most. Yet, her rec­ord argues that she is in fact something exceptional, even among those who routinely go beyond the call for the children they shelter.

Dean, a native of Battle Creek, Mich., moved to Hawaii with her family in 1988. Shortly after their arrival, she saw a commercial for foster care on TV and was smitten with the idea. The Dean home had always been a hub for neighborhood kids. Why not open it again for those in need?

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