|May 15, 2012|
May is National Foster Care Month
by Amanda Kelley
As part of a national campaign to raise awareness about the needs of young people in foster care and encourage people to get involved, National Foster Care Month has been celebrated each May since 1988.
The number of children in foster care has decreased in recent years, but there are still over 380,000 children under age 18 in the foster care system nationwide and more than 6,800 in Kentucky.
Around 26,200 children leave foster care annually - without families - when the reach age 18.
Each year the President signs a proclamation for Foster Care Month. Last year in his proclamation, President Obama extended Medicaid coverage to age 26 for foster care youth.
Many communities are seeking help from citizens asking that they come forward to help change a lifetime for a child in foster care.
Children enter into the foster care system when they have been abused, neglected, or their families are otherwise in crisis and unable to care for them. Foster parents are trained to provide temporary, safe, and nurturing homes to children who have experienced trauma.
The main goal of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) is to reunite children with their biological families as soon as they are able to provide a stable and safe home. Efforts are made to place foster children with relatives, but that is not always possible.
Foster children can be legally freed for adoption if the courts terminate the rights of biological parents. Often, foster families adopt children they have fostered to provide a permanent, stable home for those children.
Children often enter into foster care for a host of reasons, including crises with their parents like health problems, loss of income or housing, drug abuse or mental illness. Some children are voluntarily given for adoption, while other parents simply aren’t able to provide appropriate care or can’t control the child’s behavior.
According to the CHFS, more than 700 children in foster care were adopted last year, with more than 80 percent being adopted by their foster families.
Many of the children in foster care have been abused, neglected, emotionally mistreated, exploited or sexually abused, and some children have special needs. Children in the Special Needs Adoption Program are considered hard to place due to being over age 10, African-American, in a group of three or more siblings, or they have moderate to severe mental, physical, or emotional disabilities.
There are five different types of foster care homes: regular foster homes, Relative Foster Homes, Medically Fragile Homes for children with unstable medical conditions, Care Plus homes for children with behavioral problems, and Emergency Shelters for children over 12 in need of immediate placement. Respite care providers help children and foster parents by providing short-term relief or babysitting by the hour, overnight, or over a weekend.
If you are interested in becoming a foster parent, call 1-800-232-KIDS. Applicants must be 21 years of age with sufficient income and in good physical and mental health. There are housing requirements, a criminal record check, references are required, and applicants must complete 30 hours of training.
Foster parents receive financial assistance based on the needs of the child and the training level of the foster parent.
For more information, log on to http://chfs.ky.gov/dcbs/dpp/fostercare.htm.
(around the corner from Deposit Bank)
P.O. Box 206
Carlisle, KY 40311
Tel: 859-289-8899 Fax: 859-289-8890