Change a Lifetime

May 1, 2013

This May, we are celebrating National Foster Care Month. This is a wonderful opportunity to raise awareness of the more than 400,000 children and youth in the foster care system. Every day the urgent needs of these young people rise and citizens nationwide come together and get involved-as foster or adoptive parents, volunteers, mentors, employers and in so many other ways.  

When it comes to thinking about childhood, we think in terms of the fissile family. The reality is that things do not usually work out that way. For many reasons, parents sometimes end up in a situation where they are unable to care for their children, either temporarily or permanently. What happens at that point?

Throughout history, the fate of these children has depended on the inclination of the community. In the past, if the extended family, neighbors or strangers didn't step in as alternate parents, parent-less children would be turned out on the streets. Today, childcare is institutionalized, but it still relies on the kindness and compassion of individual members of the community. When parents are unable, unwilling or unfit to care for a child, the child must be placed in a new home. In some cases, there is little or no chance a child can return to the custody of their parents. In other situations, children only need a temporary home until the situation with their parents change. Nonetheless, the children still need somewhere to stay until a permanent home is possible.

People just like you are helping young people in foster care build brighter futures by serving as their foster parents, relative caregivers, mentors, advocates, social workers and volunteers. As more help is needed, communities are seeking more everyday people to come forward and support our nation’s most vulnerable children so they can realize and utilize their full potential.

This month, we are asking our surrounding communities to come together and get involved. You do not need to become a foster parent to show your support. You can support us by wearing a blue ribbon, spreading the word and share the facts about the well-being for children and youth in care. Raising awareness will not only provide support during the month of May, it will continue in the years to come to the foster children and youth in the future.

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