Each May, National Foster Care Month provides an opportunity to focus our attention on the constant needs of American children and youth in foster care. This month, we want to raise awareness about foster care and encourage others to get involved in the lives of these youth – specifically as a CASA Volunteer.
During National Foster Care Month, we also acknowledge the thousands of dedicated foster families and other caring individuals and organizations who are already supporting these children.
On any given day in the United States, there are more than 400,000 children in foster care. If you were able to bring together all these children into one city, that city would be the 43rd or 44th largest city in the U.S. Over the course of a year, nearly 700,000 children spend at least some time in foster care. That makes this population of children and youth larger than all but 18 U.S. cities.
CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County asks that you use this month to recognize these children.
History of National Foster Care Month
The following history can be found on the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services website: “For more than 100 years, the Children’s Bureau has worked to assist children and youth in foster care; engage youth in decisions that affect their lives; and support foster families, kinship caregivers, child welfare professionals, and others who help these children.
- Before the creation of the Children’s Bureau in 1912, child welfare and foster care were mainly in the hands of private and religious organizations.
- In 1919, the Children’s Bureau published Minimum Standards of Child Welfare, which affirmed the importance of keeping children in their own homes whenever possible and, when that was impossible, providing a “home life” with foster families.
- In 1923, the Children’s Bureau published Foster-Home Care for Dependent Children, an acknowledgment of the growing preference for foster family care over institutional care.
- During World War II, when more than 8,000 children were evacuated from Europe to the United States, the Children’s Bureau oversaw their temporary placement in U.S. foster homes.
- The Children’s Bureau published a draft list of “The Rights of Foster Parents” in the May 1970 issue of its journal Children. That same year, the Children’s Bureau sponsored the National Conference of Foster Parents.
- In 1972, the Children’s Bureau sponsored—and President Nixon proclaimed—National Action for Foster Children Week to raise awareness of the needs of children in foster care and recruit more foster parents. The following year, “The Bill of Rights for Foster Children” was published.
- In 1988, President Reagan issued the first presidential proclamation that established May as National Foster Care Month.”
National Foster Care Month Today
According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services website, “Today, the Children’s Bureau, together with Child Welfare Information Gateway and other partners, supports National Foster Care Month through this website. Information Gateway provides access to print and electronic publications, websites, databases, and online learning tools for improving child welfare practice, including resources that can be shared with families. Additional materials supporting the National Foster Care Month 2019 theme of foster care being a support to families rather than a substitute for birth parents can be found in Information Gateway’s Reunifying Families web section. The child welfare system—through family and community engagement, collaborative relationships, holistic family assessment, and targeted support services—can strengthen families, improve well-being, and promote successful reunification as its primary goal.”
Thankfully, here in Montgomery County, CASA Advocates are serving 100% of children in foster care. However, our work goes on! More than 7 children enter foster care in our county each week. CASA volunteers ensure their voices are heard and needs are met. Please help us continue to serve every single child! Become a CASA volunteer or donate online.