May 8, 2009

State of Alabama
Press Release: Human Resources, Department of

May is Foster Care Month

Governor Bob Riley has proclaimed May as Foster Care Month in Alabama. Currently, there are more than 6,000 youth and children in foster care in the state. Foster Care Month helps emphasize the importance of the services that protect children from abuse and neglect.

“In observance of Foster Care Month, it’s important that we recognize the critical need for foster, kinship and adoptive families to assist children and older youth in crises,” said Nancy Buckner, Commissioner of the State Department of Human Resources (DHR). “Without their support, the safety, security and well being of thousands of Alabama children are at risk,” Commissioner Buckner added.

One of the primary responsibilities of DHR is to ensure safety, permanency and well being of Alabama’s children. When children need assistance, foster care helps by offering a stable and secure environment until a child can either return home, be placed with family, be adopted, or establish an appropriate alternative relationship with a caring adult.

Foster homes allow displaced children to live together with their siblings, remain in their own neighborhoods, and stay in their same schools. Nearly every community in this state is urgently seeking more foster parents to meet the needs of children and youth of all ages.

“It’s impossible to explain just how important foster parents are to the children of our state. They provide an invaluable service to the children whom they lovingly welcome into their homes,” stated Commissioner Buckner. “I urge everyone who has ever considered foster care to please contact our department for information about how they can become a foster parent.”

In addition to the children in foster care, there are many youths who will age out of foster care this year. Many are only 18 years old and still need support and services after they leave foster care.

These young people too often find themselves vulnerable to adverse situations such as homelessness, unemployment, compromised mental health, poor educational status, poverty, substance abuse and incarceration. It’s vital that we work together as communities to assist these vulnerable youth as they transition to adulthood.

For more information about becoming a foster parent or to learn about other ways you can help, call 1-866-4AL-Kids.

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