With the number of unaccompanied children fleeing to the United States sharply increasing, foster care month could not come at a better time. In the recent report Children on the Run, the United Nations predicts that more than 60,000 children will cross the border alone this year. This is over a three-fold increase from the 20,000 youngsters that made the treacherous journey in 2013.
Kristine Poplawski, LIRS Children’s Services Coordinator explains:
Foster families provide such love, support, and safety to children who have faced great danger, violence, war, abuse, and general uncertainty in their lives for many years. The impact of foster families goes beyond providing a home over their head, but it means providing safety, security, and love for a child- the effects which can last a lifetime. These families have empowered children to become leaders in their communities for other refugee and migrant children, attend college, and make lasting changes in their community.
Rebecca Deng, a former foster child resettled by LIRS testifies:
Kids need a place to be loved and provided for. My foster family provided a home for me and I see them as my family.
It is our hope that every child has the opportunity to be loved, welcomed, and known by a family, just as Rebecca was. To facilitate this, throughout May, we’ll be releasing helpful resources for potential foster parents and our partners including:
- Foster Care Video highlights some of LIRS’s migrant and refugee children and foster parents to show the importance of relationships that are made.
- Foster Family Brochure helps our network reach out to families at foster care recruitment events.
- Foster Care Website, lirs.org/fostercare, highlights foster families experiences, the basic steps to becoming a foster parent, and what qualities are needed in a foster family. You can also sign up for more information about becoming a foster parent and or ways to volunteer and help LIRS recruit more foster parents.
- Recruiter Exchange Calls, an opportunity for LIRS and our partners to come together to talk about effective resources and strategies for recruiting foster parents, receive various trainings on recruitment, and share positive stories of foster families. The next call will be on May 21, 2014 from 3-4pm. Partners can join the call by contacting Kristine Poplawski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take a look at the resources and consider becoming a foster parent and giving the gift of family. As Jerry Burns, a foster parent in Michigan states:
Anyone can do this. Kids just need one person to believe in them and be on their side. Being a parent, whether biological, foster, or adoptive, is hard work. But there’s a really great pay-off as you see your kids trying to become their own person and make it on their own, and just to know you were a part of that is a gift.
Check back to this blog throughout the month for updates on how you can open your heart to a child in desperate need of love and a home.