Taking Time To Recognize Foster Families

There are many reasons to celebrate the month of May, including special days such as Memorial Day and Mother’s Day. You might not know about National Foster Care Month, however, which is also recognized.

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says this yearly observance gives us a moment to think about the nearly 400,000 children living in foster care in the United States. As she explains, “National Foster Care Month serves as a reminder that there are children, youth, and families in our communities who require our collective support to achieve safety, permanence, and the tools needed to thrive in adulthood. This month is a time for us to acknowledge and express our gratitude to those who provide a helping hand to children in foster care, including professionals, foster parents, mentors, and others.”

Foster parents make a lifelong difference to children by receiving and caring for them, often during a time of upheaval and distress. These moms and dads step in when biological parents are absent and fill a void in the lives of innocent children. Many children who enter into the foster care system eventually get placed with a guardian who becomes like a parent to them, welcoming them into a new family.

Growing up in a large extended family myself, I was always used to being around lots of children. My grandparents enjoyed giving their love and resources away. One baby came to our family when he was only a few days old, and we have never let him go. We nurtured him and loved him just as we would any other biological family member, and that holds true to this day. He never had to suffer the loneliness of not being with people who loved him. Instead, our whole family treated him like one of our own without question.

The foster care system is a vital service that ensures as many of our nation’s children are lovingly and faithfully cared for as possible, even when their parents can’t be the ones to do so. It takes a special kind of person to open their heart to a child that isn’t one of their own, but foster parents do just that every day. They deserve our thanks and praise for being such a huge part of the solution in these children’s lives. Happy National Foster Care Month to all who give their love by fostering a child; you are true heroes.

If you would like to learn more about foster care, seek more information online at the HHS’s Child Welfare Information Gateway.

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