National Foster Care Awareness Month is celebrated in May to empower caregivers and strengthen families. The initiative encourages individuals to reflect on how we all play a part in enhancing the lives of children and youth that experience life in the foster care system. Through the official Child Welfare Government Website, people can search for foster care contacts by state, search through the National Foster Care and Adoption Directory (also available through the mobile app), and read inspiring stories that focus on best practices in recruitment and retention planning.
With Mother's Day being celebrated in early May, there is often a large focus on foster moms. Additionally, it is a time to remember those who have passed on with the remembrance of Memorial Day. This combination of holidays brings a larger awareness to the need for more foster families.
National Foster Care Awareness Month Goals
The primary mission of National Foster Care Month is to raise awareness about the magnitude of the issue, including the urgent and sustaining needs of children and older youth in foster care and their families. There are also goals to issue a national call-to-action that motivates, inspires, and facilitates more Americans to come forward and help change a lifetime for a young person in foster care.
In addition, it's key for the organization to develop a positive framework for maintaining visibility and interest in the foster care field. This helps support the year-round efforts of the National Foster Care Month Partner organizations and other child welfare agencies.
How to Spread Foster Care Awareness
Foster Care Month provides an opportunity to acknowledge the thousands of dedicated foster families and other caring individuals and organizations who already support young people. It all started in 1988, with Senator Strom Thurmond and encouragement from the National Foster Parent Association.
To celebrate Foster Care Awareness Month, there are daily activities you can participate in to spread the word about the need for more foster parents. For example, you can join the Facebook campaign which provides webinars, resources, and information about child welfare. One post allows you to share a bulletin created by professionals that focuses on how children with disabilities are more at risk for abuse and neglect. This education can lead to further awareness and prevention for those entering and leaving the foster care system.
Foster Care Parenting
You can learn how to become a foster parent by understanding state guidelines, mastering skills, and preparing your family. Managing communication, behavior, and losses are just some of the skills foster parents need to possess. If you already know foster parenting is in your future, you can prepare by getting experience with children of all ages by volunteering at group homes, babysitting, and spending time with foster care children at meetings or support groups.
You can also read stories of famous foster kids to learn about those who made it to the top after being a foster child. Get inspired about your new journey by learning from experts like Janet Farrand who have shared their experience on what parenting is like with foster children.
For instance, the Fostering Wishes For Children (FWFC) organization shows foster parents that their communities support them. This knowledge can help parents continue to foster year after year.