Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Be a foster parent.

May is National Foster Care Month. Foster parents give love, care and support to over 500,000 children in the US. Over 2.5 million more children are being cared for by relatives other than their parents. Consider your needs as a child. Imagine not having a parent to meet them. Foster parents help meet the needs of children. Get involved in this good and much needed work:

* Read these success stories be inspired!

* Become a court appointed special advocate. CASA volunteers "speak for the best interests of abused and neglected children who are involved in the juvenile courts."

* Consult the National Foster Parent Association to get more information on being a foster parent or supporting foster parents in your community.

* Be a virtual mentor to current and former foster youth ages 18-23. "Mentors receive pre-service and ongoing training and support as they work with their mentees on issues such as goal planning, course selection and career guidance, and strategies for success in school and in the workplace."

* Send a care package to a former foster child who is now in college.

These are just a few of the many ways you can help make a difference in a child's life. Share your heart. Open your home. Give hope. Change a lifetime. Be a foster parent.


Karama said...

Check out this AJC editorial published today by BJ Walker, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Human Resources. It provides more information on why foster children need your help.

"Every day, in Georgia, more than 600 18-year-olds become free and independent of the state's foster care system. Seventy-seven percent of them came into foster care as adolescents. Like any parent of adolescents, I wish I could warn them: Freedom ain't free.

And all of us in Georgia will pay the price.

Only about 14 percent of the teens who leave foster care at age 18 will have graduated high school. Twenty-nine percent will soon become recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and food stamps. And if our teens resemble their peers across the country, within four years 60 percent of the females will have given birth and 24 percent of the males will have fathered children.

Add to this the 14 percent who are likely to be homeless and the 41 percent who will spend some time in jail, and the future prospects for those "aging out" of foster care are not good.

Since teenagers are generally not good listeners, then we, the adults who run the foster care system, are going to have to be better listeners. The statistics are talking loud and clear and they are unacceptable. We must make some changes.

First, we must find a million ways to listen to children in foster care before they are ready to leave the system. We must involve them in their own case planning. They have big dreams and big ideas and we need to help them make plans to achieve those goals.

Second, we must find adults to serve as caseworkers and foster parents, who genuinely like teenagers and can work with them, on the teens' terms, not just those of the adults.

After all, no matter what the teens' behavior or attitude is now, somewhere along the way, adults failed them.

This is our commitment going forward, not to fail them again. We ask just one thing: Please, teens, give us that chance."

Anonymous said...

I am so excited to be beginning the foster parent journey. Thanks for this article!
If anyone out there wants to read about our journey and/or give us advice:

salsa937 said...

It's great to see that people are actually excited to be foster parents. Because throughout the years I have known foster kids who had been set up with foster parents who were only in it to recieve a check from the government every month. And that is true, becoming 18 to an average teen is great! But to a foster kid, becoming 18 only means that they have to fend for themselves and most have not been fully prepared for the world they're entering.

Anne said...

Check out this website to read about the same universal problems meeting children's needs in the UK foster care system.