Today is the final day of National Foster Care Awareness Month. I know the calendar is full of arbitrary “National So-and-So” days or weeks or months, but to be honest I was a little bummed out when we got to the end of the month and I didn’t see many people in my social media feeds post or talk about foster care.
In Georgia alone, there are approximately 13,873 children in foster care as of February 2019. If we look just in Dekalb and Fulton Counties, we see 1,732 children in foster care. There are an additional 1,151 children who would call these counties home, but who have been placed outside of their respective home counties for a lack of available local foster homes.
Kids can enter into the foster system for a number of reasons, with the top two catalysts being neglect and abuse.
“Children are placed in foster care when a child protective services worker and court have determined it is not safe for them to remain home. Displacement from their family and disruption of their usual routine and familiar surroundings is traumatizing for many children. Children in foster care need strong relationships with caring adults, a network of social support, and services to cope with the challenging circumstances of home removal. Children who are older, are a racial or ethnic minority, have special needs, or suffer from a behavioral or mental disorder are more likely to experience multiple foster care placements and stay in care longer.”
While my own home is not available for foster placements, my family has supported foster families through providing clothes or baby equipment, cooking meals, or babysitting a family’s other kids when they have to attend court or take a foster child to a medical appointment. My church beats the drum for local foster care, we’ve assisted many couples in the journey of becoming foster families, and we regularly host a foster & adoption support group. As a community, we can ensure that children in the foster system can more healthily weather seasons of family disruption.
Ultimately, the existing needs for foster families (and adoptive families!) are 100% solvable, if only more individuals and families would enter into this with us. If you have a healthy, loving, stable home environment with an extra bedroom, chances are you’re a qualified candidate for being a foster family.
I know that word doesn’t get out much on this issue. That’s why I’m chipping away at the mountainous problem through this blog post and some tiny action steps at Taproom.
On Friday, June 7th and Saturday June 8th we’re hosting an info table for Wellroot Family Services, a great organization that helps to train and support local foster families. Drop by and say hi to a Wellroot representative, ask any questions, and find out how you can start the journey to get involved in the foster care system. That whole week we’ll also be accepting donations of diapers and wipes to be given to local foster families. (We’ve had friends who have had zero notice when social workers dropped off a newborn at their house… these kinds of donations are life savers in those moments!) As a small thank-you we’re giving a free beverage to anyone who drops off a donation.
You can find out more about the donation drop-offs and the info table on our website event page.