There are currently an excess of 60,000 children in our California foster care system. Some kids get lucky, while others, due to negative situations, find it necessary to run away from their foster homes. Many of us know someone who opened their heart and home to a foster child in desperate need of tender loving care. Some fell in love with the children in their care and eventually adopted them, positively changing the lives of these children forever. However, there are also unscrupulous foster parents who agree to foster children for all the wrong reasons.
May is Foster Care Awareness Month, which is a great opportunity to raise awareness about fostering a child. A kind and giving foster parent can help stop the cycle of abuse by offering a safe haven to a child craving love, acceptance, and understanding. However, according to a recent study, 13 percent of all foster children run away at least once, and another 9 percent abandon their foster homes to live with friends. The study also indicated that foster care can be a highway to homelessness, early pregnancy, arrest, and sex trafficking, particularly when children age out of the system when they turn 18 and are thrown into society unable and unprepared to care for themselves.
There is no question that darkness exists in the system, but hope is not lost. There is much to be said about foster children who overcame obstacles, gained confidence and determination, and became productive and successful members of society. Most were given this lucky break by loving and caring foster parents. These parents provided patience and understanding, and cared enough to bring strength and stability into these needy children’s lives.
If you are currently a foster parent, we want to acknowledge you for all the time and energy you’ve invested in loving a child who needs you for all the obvious reasons. If you are considering fostering a child, there are many reputable agencies that can walk you through the process. If you’re unable to foster, there are a plethora of agencies where you could volunteer and make an impact by mentoring a foster youth.
Consider all the ways you could positively influence a foster child, and help end the cycle of abuse for future generations. W
Olive Crest is dedicated to preventing child abuse, to treating and educating at risk children, and to preserving the family… “One Life at a Time.”® Every day Olive Crest, with the support of donors and caring community members, serves 3,000 children and families in need. To learn how you can help or donate, please visit www.olivecrest.org or call 1.800. 550.CHILD.