Too often, we hear stories of children who fall victim to abuse or neglect. In the United States alone, there is an estimated number of over 400,000 youth in foster care. Fortunately, there are many people who work together for a common goal – enhancing the lives of kids in the foster care system. We recognize this great contribution to society every year in May as we highlight National Foster Care Month.
National Foster Care Month: Awareness
There has been great advocacy for the foster care community in the United States, namely through organizations like the National Foster Parent Association (NFPA). Support for this cause was further solidified in 1988 when then President Ronald Reagan issued an official proclamation declaring May as National Foster Care Month.
The purpose of this month has evolved over the years. Initially meant to celebrate foster parents’ contributions, the focus has shifted to honor all of those who make a difference in the lives of children in care (i.e., child welfare workers, family members, volunteers, etc.).
Over 30,000 youth age out foster care each year without any hope of permanency, leaving them to fend for themselves with limited life or job skills, resources or family support. National Foster Care Month brings awareness to this issue and offers information on resources that will give them a chance for success.
During National Foster Care Month, there are many ways to get involved. To find out what’s happening throughout the country or in your neighborhood, click to access foster care contacts by state.
National Foster Care Month: Recognition
Like President Reagan did in 1988, each year the current U.S. President issues an official proclamation recognizing May as National Foster Care Month. While each declaration is unique, the purpose of supporting the foster care community and those who contribute to it remains the same.
The Children’s Bureau, an organization within the United States Department of Health and Human Services, helps bring awareness to National Foster Care Month through the Children Welfare Information Gateway. This website provides great information including volunteer opportunities, testimonials and access to a variety of resources.
Each year in New Jersey, embrella, in partnership with the Department of Children and Families (DCF), hosts an annual recognition brunch to highlight families and individuals that have taken on the important task of touching the lives of children in care.
In a time when you are most likely to hear what’s going wrong in the world, it’s refreshing to know there are people who are doing what’s right. National Foster Care month sheds a positive light on one of the most negative circumstances.
It’s worth recognizing and maintaining awareness so others can join the movement to ensure foster children have a chance to live the lives they deserve.
Salendria Mabrey is a Communication and Development Associate at Foster and Adoptive Family Services.