The Children's Bureau, within the US Department of Health and Human Services sponsors National Foster Care Month every year. This year their theme focuses on the role of foster care as a support service to families in overcoming obstacles with the goal of reunification. When possible, successful reunification can be the best outcome for children in foster care, in terms of their long-term well-being.
The Children's Bureau has pulled together a selection of real-life foster care success stories as well as resources and information on their National Foster Care Month web page. We encourage you to take a look and share these resources. There are ways to get involved in supporting children and youth in foster care, even if you're not ready to be a foster parent.
2019 Children's Bureau Message
To kick off National Foster Care Month, Associate Commissioner at the Children's Bureau, Jerry Milner writes:
During my time as child welfare director in Alabama, families with case plans benefited when we shifted our approach from punishing and separating families to preserving and strengthening them. We did this through enhanced partnerships with the legal and judicial communities, service providers, and a shared investment in achieving positive results for children and families. Fundamental change can happen on a broader scale when we meet families where they are and work across systems to facilitate access to concrete and targeted services. Families are more likely to achieve reunification when the child welfare system and its partners are committed to putting them first.
To give families involved with foster care a fighting chance, we need to consider seriously recruiting foster parents who see their primary job as supporting and mentoring the birth family in addition to ensuring that children have a safe and nurturing place to live. We need to make sure they receive the appropriate training and resources to build trust with the birth family and reinforce positive parenting practices and healthy family routines that will help promote reunification. We must honor the integrity of the parent-child connection and sibling and kin relationships whenever safely possible. Developing and supporting foster care and kinship care families in the areas where data reveal the greatest needs will raise the odds that children can remain close to parents, and possibly even live with a relative. Trained foster care providers can help normalize a child's stay by encouraging regular contact with the birth family and helping them maintain that essential connection. You will find guidance and resources on the website on how foster and kinship caregivers can work with birth families to access family support and preservation services, as well as how child welfare professionals can engage with the surrounding community.
With over 440,000 youth and children in foster care the need is great, but so are the opportunities. The well-being of our foster youth is a community responsibility and requires a team effort. Everyone can play a role in achieving positive long-term outcomes. Contact us to find out how you can help.
At Victor, we support foster families every step of the way, from setup and training through the fostering process and into reunification or even adoption in some cases. We partner with our resource families so that they never feel alone in what can be a very challenging process. If you're curious what it's like to foster with Victor, take a look at these video interviews to see what some of our foster parents have to say about their experience.
Interested in becoming a Resource Family?