May is National Foster Care Month
In 1988, President Reagan proclaimed May as National Foster Care Month. Since then, social workers and human services organizations across the nation have used this time of year to raise awareness of the needs of children in foster care, and to recognize those who play key roles of those in care.
This year’s theme is “Building Blocks Toward Permanent Families.” The US Children’s Bureau is using this concept to promote one of the most significant needs of youth on foster care: permanent placement.
Why is permanence so important? Permanence – recognized as a legally permanent placement with either biological parents (reunification), extended family, or unrelated adoptive parents – is a valuable goal for youth in care because, as statistics show, “young adults formerly in foster care are less likely to be employed or enrolled in college at age 19 than their same-age peers nationally, contributing to greater economic instability in their early adult years.:1
Here are some statistics from 2012:
- 397,000 kids were in care
- Half of the kids in foster care nationally were 8-years-old and younger
- 52% of kids were male , 48% female
- Nearly 10% if youth in foster care were part of the program for five years or more, while 22% were in care for between one and five months
- There is little disparity between the age of children in care up to seventeen-years-old. The highest number (30,000 or 7% ) of kids were one-year-olds, while the lowest number of kids were eleven-years old (14,169 or 4% of the population of kids in care.)
- Of the 240,000 children nationally who exited the foster care system in 2012, 21% were adopted.
- 51% of children in foster care were reunited with their biological family.
Hope For Youth provides safe, supportive temporary homes for children and youth with the goal of reunification with their biological parents, relatives or placement through adoption. With a practical understanding of the impact that foster care has on children and families, we are committed to providing quality care and stability for our residents while working towards a more permanent and stable plan for their future.
What can you do? If you are the biological parent of a child in foster care you may consider working closely with your case worker towards reunification. Have space in your heart and home to adopt a child? Great! Whether it’s one of your own family members you’re helping, or a young person you’re yet to meet, you’ll be contributing towards the positive development of a child’s ability to transfer from care to self-sufficiency.