Since 1988 our country has come together to appreciate and recognize the strength and courage of foster families by declaring May National Foster Care Month. Right now, foster families are caring for nearly 500,000 American children who are in foster care because their own families are in difficult situations and are unable to provide for them.
I work directly with treatment foster families in the Milwaukee area through Children’s Service Society of Wisconsin, and I know that foster children have an extraordinary capacity to overcome many challenges, but only if they have the support of a caring adult in their lives. Loving foster parents add the stability and structure children need to grow to become successful adults.
If nothing were to change by 2020, nearly 14 million confirmed cases of child abuse and neglect will be reported and 22,500 children will die of abuse or neglect – most before age 5. National Foster Care Month is an opportunity to inform policymakers, business leaders and others in Wisconsin about the urgent need for many more people to become foster parents. Without permanent, nurturing relationships with adults, foster youth are far more likely than their peers to endure homelessness, poverty, poor health, unemployment, incarceration and other adversities after they leave the foster care system.
No matter how much time you have to give, you have the power to do something positive that will change a lifetime for a young person in foster care. If you are interested in becoming a treatment foster parent or know someone who is, call us at (414) 453-1400 or e-mail me at Langston.Verdin@cssw.org.
–Langston Verdin, foster home recruiter, Children’s Service Society of Wisconsin