May is National Foster Care Month

By Michele Morrissey 

LUK is a proud supporter of National Foster Care Month, and you should be too!  Each May, National Foster Care Month provides an opportunity to shine a light on the experiences of thousands of children and youth in the foster care system.  This year marks the 27th National Foster Care Month, reaching back to 1988.  "Get to Know the Many Faces of Foster Care" is the theme of May 2015.  The campaign raises awareness about the urgent needs of these young people and encourages citizens from every walk of life to get involved – as foster parents, volunteers, mentors, employers or in other ways.

With the help of LUK’s Community Placement Team and our foster families, many formerly abused or neglected children and teens in Massachusetts will either reunite safely with their parents, be cared for by relatives or be adopted by loving families.  These are some of the faces of Foster Care.

Thanks to the many advocates, child welfare professionals, elected officials and support groups around the country, the total number of children in foster care has decreased over recent years but more help is needed.  LUK wish to especially recognize and thank our  foster parents who have supported over 200 children this past year in our foster care programs.

One of these 200 children is “Victoria.”  In 2011 she came to LUK with an extensive trauma history; both of her biological parents are long term substance abusers, she witnessed domestic violence and was neglected and abused.  Along with her two siblings, she was removed from their parents care and placed in foster care.  “Victoria” had difficulties with impulsive behavior, both at home and in school.  Additionally “Victoria” struggled to manage her emotions. Victoria has flourished with the help of her extensive team.  She is placed with LUK foster mother “Phaedra” and her family.   It is the perfect match.  She is now beginning to excel in school and really feels like she's a part of the family.  She is living the life she never thought possible.  Victoria, Phaedra and her family are some of the faces of foster care Foster Care Month is meant to highlight.

Another remarkable resilient young man is “Ronan.”  “Ronan” received extensive physical injuries during an accident.  At the time of the accident, he and his three siblings were removed from their parents care due to neglect.  He spent several weeks at a local hospital and then was transferred to Spalding Rehabilitation hospital where he remained for several weeks.  After a brief stay in LUK’s stabilization and assessment program, “Ronan” was moved into the foster home of “Suzanne.”  “Suzanne” lives with her husband and 3 biological children.  “Ronan” joined their family and has connected and feels safe.  He has received trauma therapy, physical therapy and educational supports.  He is a member of the Boys and Girls Club, attends church weekly and continues to have weekly visits with his biological siblings and parents.  Additionally, Ronan’s strength includes his desire to excel in school, his interpersonal skills with both peers and adults, and the optimism he displays even in the wake of such a traumatic accident.  The plan for “Ronan” is a kinship placement with his grandparents by the end of the school year.

Our foster families are special.  100% of those youth surveyed by LUK were satisfied with their experience in our homes and the majority of these children and youth were discharged according to their plans.  Consider how much care and support it requires maintaining such impressive results for these faces of foster care.

There is no ideal profile of a foster parent.  The demographics are broad and include single adults or coupled partners. You may be single or married; own or rent your home; but you must pass a criminal back ground check and a safety check of your home.  There are many conversations and interviews held with prospective foster parents to ensure a good fit.

In other words, foster parents don’t have to come with a super-hero cape, but they might earn one over time. We recruit people who have a gift for working with children, who have a passion for wanting to develop the best in children but also realize that there’s not a lot of glamour and glory in foster care. Being a parent is one of the toughest jobs in the world.

We call on all of you to join us in becoming one of the faces of Foster Care and to change a lifetime of a child or youth in foster care.  No matter who you are or how much time you have to give, you can help create permanent, lifelong connections for these children and youth.  For more information, please call us at 800-579-0000 or find more information at www.luk.org/fostercare.

All children deserve a safe, happy life.  Young people in foster care especially need nurturing adults on their side because their own families are in crisis and unable to care for them.  Foster Care Month is the perfect time to investigate becoming one of the faces and one of the solutions for these children.Every year, approximately 30,000 young people leave the foster care system without lifelong families – most at age 18. On their own, these young adults must navigate a weakened economy offering fewer jobs and less support for vital services such as housing. They need – and deserve – caring adults who love and support them. Thanks to the many advocates, child welfare professionals, elected officials and support groups around the country, the total number of children in foster care has decreased over recent years. But more help is needed.

Every year, approximately 30,000 young people leave the foster care system without lifelong families – most at age 18. On their own, these young adults must navigate a weakened economy offering fewer jobs and less support for vital services such as housing. They need – and deserve – caring adults who love and support them.

We call on all Americans to join us in helping to change a lifetime of a child or youth in foster care. No matter who you are or how much time you have to give, you can help create permanent, lifelong connections for these children and youth.

All children — including the 408,000 American children and youth in foster care — deserve a safe, happy life. Young people in foster care especially need nurturing adults on their side because their own families are in crisis and unable to care for them.

 

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