This is one of our favorite months, here at Gateway. May is National Foster Care Month http://www.gway.org/presidents-proclamation-for-national-foster-care-month – a time when our entire country turns its attention to the loving families who open their homes and hearts to kids entering the foster care system.
No child should have to worry about having a safe place to call home, or a loving parent to care for them. Today, more than 400,000 http://datacenter.kidscount.org/data/tables/6243-children-in-foster-care?loc=2&loct=2#detailed/2/2/true/36,868,867,133,38/any/12987 children are in the foster care system nationwide – roughly 4,500 of those kids live here in Alabama.
And for some of those boys and girls, the trauma and uncertainty of being taken away from a family they know and placed into the foster care system as only made worse by the challenge of dealing with mental health issues.
Sadly, these can be some of the toughest children to place. Adults who might be willing to foster in other scenarios can be reluctant to take on the responsibility of managing challenging behaviors, medical schedules, or specialized educational plans.
It’s not enough for me to tell them about our deep need for families. It is true that each year Gateway sees up to 75 children in need of therapeutic foster care – and that we don’t always have an easy time finding foster parents ready and willing to support them – but sometimes a different voice is needed.
That’s why I’m always so appreciative of the foster parent alumni in our Therapeutic Foster Care (TFC) program. Whether it’s talking to interested participants in one of our open houses http://www.gway.org/open-house or speaking to foster candidates during our 12-week training program http://www.gway.org/gps-training, they make all the difference in helping families to understand what it takes to be a foster parent – and the joy that being a foster parent can bring.
Sometimes, all a potential parent needs is to hear is the story of another family who made the decision to foster and how that decision added to their lives.
This month, we’ll be featuring some of our favorite stories of families brought together through our TFC program. Whether they connect to a child for a minute or for a lifetime, their stories show the lasting love that can come from making the decision to foster. You can read some of their stories here http://www.gway.org/gateway-foster-parent-promese-perry-on-daytime-alabama and here http://www.gway.org/kimberly-pickett. Keep visiting our website to read new stories throughout the month.
So, if you’re a foster parent already, I want to thank you for providing care and support to children who need it. And if you’re thinking about fostering, I invite you to read these stories and see if they help answer your questions. You can also reach out http://www.gway.org/become-a-tfc-parent to the TFC program staff or come to our next open house http://www.gway.org/open-house on June 18 where someone can answer your questions and help you decide if fostering is the right choice for you and your family.
Thank you and Happy National Foster Care Month!
Posted on Fri, May 8, 2015
by Karin Park