National Foster Care Month provides an opportunity for the child welfare community to acknowledge the children and youth in foster care and the family members, foster parents, child welfare professionals, volunteers, and community members who are committed to supporting the needs and well-being of children and families.
According to the Children’s Bureau, of the over 407,000 children and youth in foster care across the country, 34 percent of children and youth were placed with relatives and kin. This year's theme, “Relative and Kin Connections: Keeping Families Strong,” focuses on strengthening relative and kin connections and the positive impact these relationships have on maintaining family and cultural ties for children and youth currently experiencing foster care. Family and community connections are also an important part of maintaining normalcy for children and youth in care.
Judges and attorneys can play a key role in their communities to support these critical connections for children, youth, and families. Encouraging effective use of family engagement tools such as Collaborative Family Engagement and Family Group Decision Making may expand the family support system for children and youth experiencing foster care and encourage family reunification. The inclusion of kin and extended family members in case planning can identify placement and permanency options for children and youth when in-home care is not appropriate.
In observance of National Foster Care Month as well as the concurrent Mental Health Awareness Month, the Children’s Bureau will livestream a conversation about the intersection of family separation, trauma, and triumph on Wednesday, May 11, 2022, at 5:00 p.m. EDT.
Please see the following links for additional resources to support children and youth in foster care: