Need for foster families is growing
May is National Foster Care Awareness Month
May is designated National Foster Care Awareness Month, a time set aside to help raise awareness of the needs and challenges of children in foster care.
Youth Villages partners with the states of Tennessee and Mississippi to help find and train foster parents and oversee the care they provide to children. Youth Villages is also one of a handful of organizations that handle adoptions from foster care in Tennessee.
“The need for foster families is great and ongoing,” said Tiffany Dickerson, who oversees Youth Villages’ foster care recruitment and training efforts in the Shelby County in Tennessee. “Every child needs and deserves to live with a family, and for many children, a foster family is the first time they experience stability. We see it over and over how foster families make a difference for children who cannot live with their birth families.”
Children are placed into foster care when it’s determined that their families cannot safely care for them. Some of the children have faced abuse and neglect. States look for an appropriate placement for the child among its pool of foster parents and calls its partner organizations to help find a family who’s a good match.
“The calls come daily about a child or several children, or a sibling group who need homes,” Dickerson said. “We want to be ready to answer the call, and in order to do that, we are looking for more foster families.”
Each state has requirements that potential foster parents must meet.
“The most important requirement is that people interested in fostering have a passion for making a difference in the lives of children,” Dickerson said.
Youth Villages foster parents receive 24/7 support and a monthly stipend to help offset the cost of caring for a child. Adoption through Youth Villages is free.