Foster care: a road to permanency
May is National Foster Care Month-a time to acknowledge the foster parents, family members, volunteers, mentors, policymakers, child welfare professionals, and other members of the community who help children and youth in foster care find permanent homes and connections. It is also a time to focus on ways to create a bright future for the more than 463,000 children and youth across the United States in foster care.
This year, the theme for National Foster Care Month is “Partnering With Families and Youth to Achieve Permanency.” The website highlights the significant number of older children and youth in foster care and the important role child welfare professionals play in helping youth build relationships with families and in building other lifelong connections between youth and the people who are important to them.
In this time of quarantine, foster children around the nation are missing visits with parents, siblings and other relatives, and from their social workers and other support people, along with their mentors and supporters in school, leaving them once again in a state of transition and uncertainty.
Local families interested in beginning the foster parenting process should begin at IowaKidsNet.org.
Our newsroom recently became aware of a similar website serving the Pacific Northwest in which available foster children are featured. Some of the teens from this part of the country have been paired with a foster child engagement expert to create a stylish, biographical video. A 14-year-old named Chanel shows her art and writing skills and talks about how art has helped her. Another 14-year-old named Eva cooks churros and talks about what she needs in an adoptive family. Claire, a 15-year-old of Romani descent, displays her sense of fashion and aesthetics and how she just wants parents to guide her through high school and beyond. Every one of these teens told interviewers they really want to be adopted. They may look like teens with just a few short years to adulthood, but they’re also kids who need a place to belong.
We would love to see that sort of engagement on IowaKidsNet and for older foster kids around the Midwest.
We are aware of several dedicated foster and foster-to-adopt families in Emmet County. These families are an inspiration, but we suspect are also regular families with their ups and downs like any others. Foster kids aren’t looking for perfection in perspective parents. They’re looking for love, structure, someone to care for them, spend time with them, and for a place to call home.