May is National Foster Care Month: Open Your Heart and Home to a Child in Need
1 May 2008
Today there are more than half a million children in foster care and many are waiting for a permanent place to call home. According to the National Foster Care Coalition, there are an estimated 12 million foster care alumni and 513,000 children and adolescents currently in out-of-home care. Each May, National Foster Care Month provides an opportunity for people across the nation to focus attention on the year-round needs of children and adolescents in foster care.
“All children deserve and benefit from enduring, positive relationships with caring adults. The same is true for the children and adolescents in foster care in this country,” said Bruce Nardella, The Network’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. “These young people have a special need to make connections with nurturing adults because their own families are in crisis.”
Nearly half of the young people in foster care are over the age of 10, and each year more than 20,000 young Americans age out of foster care, most without the appropriate resources, skills or options they will need to live independently. If this trend continues, by 2020, 99,000 former foster youth can expect to experience homelessness. To combat these alarming statistics, numerous organizations across the country are focusing their efforts on helping this population, which is increasingly at risk, safely transition to adulthood. Across the country, organizations such as the Anne E. Casey Foundation, the National Foster Care Coalition and Adoption and Foster Care Mentoring — a recent recipient of a Community Partner grant from The MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation — are implementing mentoring programs for former foster youth, as well as forming community partnerships to provide education and vocational support.
Foster Care Month is also an opportunity to recognize the thousands of dedicated foster families. On a daily basis, hundreds of Network employees and Mentors work tirelessly to support children and adolescents in our care. Too often, the work they do is under appreciated.
“Not a day goes by that I am not impressed and amazed by the dedication and compassion of our staff and the Mentors who have opened their hearts and their homes to a child in need,” said Lynn Morton-Epps, State Director of South Carolina MENTOR.
“Being a foster parent is neither glamorous nor easy,” said Heath Greene, Mentor Recruiter for Massachusetts MENTOR. “But if you are willing to do the hard work, there is nothing more rewarding than serving as a friend, teacher and role model to a child in need of love and guidance.”
If you are interested in learning more about becoming a foster parent with The MENTOR Network, click here. Foster parents with The MENTOR Network receive comprehensive training, a competitive stipend and are supported by a caring team of professionals, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
To learn about National Foster Care Month celebrations in your community, visit www.fostercaremonth.org.