Children who are at risk in their families may need the extra support that comes from being taken care of by foster parents. It is estimated that approximately 400,000 children and youth throughout the United States are involved in some sort of foster care each year. Though it’s not always ideal, many children do benefit from the experience of getting their needs met by a foster parent or family, whether for a short time or in a long-term situation.
National Foster Care Month offers an opportunity to raise awareness, learn more, and show appreciation for the good that continues to be done through foster families.
History of National Foster Care Month
The first National Foster Care Month was celebrated more than 35 years ago when US President Ronald Reagan established it through a presidential proclamation. Since that time, the event has been celebrated each year to bring attention to the continual needs that exist for those in foster care.
When National Foster Care Month was first started, the original idea was to show appreciation for families who open their homes to children in need by acting as foster parents. However, over the years since this event has been celebrated, the focus has shifted to prevention and care by promoting well-being and resources that are offered through community involvement, targeted support services and collaborative relationships that keep foster children cared for.
In addition to annual proclamations by the US president, National Foster Care Month is also supported by other organizations and entities, such as the Children’s Bureau, the Children Welfare Information Gateway, the National Foster Youth Institute and several others.
How to Celebrate National Foster Care Month
Consider some of these ideas for observing and celebrating National Foster Care Month:
Raise Awareness for Foster Care
One of the best ways for individuals and groups to observe National Foster Care Month would be to let others know about it. Encourage involvement through efforts in the community by accessing tool kits provided by the Children’s Bureau. Resources include access to social media, graphics, sample proclamations and more.
Plan a Fundraiser for Foster Care
The cost of needed services for foster care children often goes far above and beyond what the government provides. Many charities work hard to fill in the gaps and National Foster Care Month might be a great time to host a fundraising event for one of these non-profit support organizations.
Learn Key Facts about Foster Care
Get involved with National Foster Care Month by gaining knowledge and getting educated through key facts that reveal more about this important issue. Check out some of these important facts surrounding the topic of foster care that can be learned and shared with others:
The largest unmet health need for children and youth in foster care is access to mental and behavioral health care.
Because of traumas faced in their families of origin or in foster care, foster care alumni are five times more likely than the general adult population to experience post traumatic stress disorder.
Maintaining relationships with relatives while in foster care can reduce trauma, create stability, and maintain a sense of belonging and well-being for children in foster care.