LANSING — May is Foster Care Month, which provides all Michiganders with an opportunity to consider how they can support the goal of providing a safe and supportive home for children who need temporary out-of-home care.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has issued a proclamation to increase awareness about the importance of foster families and recognize all that they do for children.
“Every child deserves to have an adult in their life who is their champion and a home where they feel safe and secure,” Whitmer said. “Parenting isn’t easy, and sometimes families need extra support. Foster parenting is one of the most selfless things you can do, and I am so grateful for the Michiganders who have stepped up to provide loving homes for children who need them.”
In Michigan, about 11,500 youth are in foster care. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) oversees the state’s foster care system.
“MDHHS is committed to finding as many loving temporary foster homes as we can to best meet the needs of children and families,” said Demetrius Starling, executive director of the MDHHS Children’s Services Agency. We hope that more Michigan residents will consider foster parenting during May and throughout the year. As a foster parent you can serve as a support for families who may benefit from your mentoring, insights and assistance – which is a critical role of foster parents and essential to children successfully reunifying with their families.”
The goal of foster parenting is to provide a temporary, safe, and stable home that will partner with children’s biological parents while they access the resources and support to eventually reunite. In a small percentage of cases in which it is not safe for the child to return home, children need foster homes while an adoptive home is being found.
A primary goal of Children’s Services Agency is ensuring children in foster care can remain in their communities with their siblings. This requires adequate foster home availability in each of these areas of focus – foster homes that are willing to take placement of sibling groups, foster homes who are willing to care for teenagers and homes throughout the state in every community.
“We appreciate our foster parents across Michigan who have given hope and care to so many Michigan children,” Starling said. “We also are grateful for our private partner foster care organizations, tribal governments and the Foster Care Navigators who provide guidance to people who are interested in becoming a foster parent.”
During May, MDHHS and Foster Care Navigators also are making a special effort to recognize 31 outstanding foster and kinship families and the regional resource teams that assist them.
Anyone who is curious to learn more about foster parenting can visit michigan.gov/HopeForAHome. Or call Foster Care Navigators at 855-MICH-KIDS. Navigators are experienced foster care parents who can answer your questions, help you find an agency and provide you with guidance along your journey to becoming a foster parent. — G.G.