May 2024 Is Foster Care Awareness Month: Be ONE Who Makes A Difference

Each May we celebrate Foster Care Awareness Month. Intended to raise awareness of the needs of kids children and youth in the U.S. foster care system who need temporary – and sometimes permanent – homes with safe, nurturing families. Yet hundreds of thousands of kids are still in the system now, facing uncertain futures tomorrow let alone next year or the one after that.

Awareness is not enough, What is needed is practical guidance about how any of us can take action to help make a difference in what can feel like an overwhelming crisis affecting children and teens in our own cities, towns and neighborhoods.

Kids In Foster Care Need Moms and Dads

Our mission at America’s Kids Belong always has focused on one solution: family. What kids in the child-welfare system need most are people willing to say, “Yes,” to being moms and dads, to stand in the gap for them until their bio families can be restored and reunified.

Some kids also need adoptive families when all attempts at reunification have failed, and many need moms and dads willing to say, “Yes,” to adopting a teen or a sibling group so that those precious bonds are not also broken.

If you’ve ever considered fostering this is the moment to take a next step. Fostering one child in any of the myriad fostering models that exist today can make a lasting difference in the life of a child. Here’s a quick snapshot of a few of the options to care for kids other than long-term placement. (What’s available where you live varies by state.)

  • Short-term care – Some placements are short-term, typically one month to two years.
  • Emergency custodial care – When kids are first removed from the bio family home it can take time (especially without enough foster homes) to find a placement for them. Many states allow emergency custodial care for 72 hours to provide a safe home environment for kids to wait in until a long-term placement can be found.
  • Respite care – Active foster parents sometimes need support or relief; for example, if they are traveling out of state to see family, but the kids in their care are not permitted to leave. Serving as a respite provider for a few hours up to a few days can be an invaluable way to help long-term foster homes thrive.
  • CASA -Court Appointed Special Advocates (or CASA) programs train volunteers to be a voice for kids in foster care, advocating for safe, permanent homes for them. CASA volunteers represent one child at a time.
This Mother’s Day we’re spotlighting Hannah Rodriguez, who along with her husband, a foster, adoptive and bio parent to 10 kids.

…And You

Maybe none of these are roles you can take on at this time. If you have a heart for kids in foster care there still are many ways you can make a difference in their experiences and outcomes without providing direct care.

Let this May be the moment when you commit to one way to make a difference:

For more ideas visit our popular post 23 and You with more doable ideas for supporting kids and families involved with foster care

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