What can Sesame Street teach us about foster care? Recently, the popular, long-running children’s program introduced a Muppet named Karli who is living with her “for-now” parents in foster care. Karli introduces children to the concept of foster care in a way that they can understand. It also highlights a reality for thousands of children and families across the country.
Why Foster Care Matters
May is National Foster Care Month. As members of the adoption community, foster care is something most of us are familiar with. Maybe you are adopting through the foster care system or maybe your child lived with a foster family in another country while you worked through the process of bringing them home. No doubt, the contributions and care of foster families is immensely important to ensuring that children receive the best care regardless of their situation.
Research shows that children placed in foster care can experience tremendous benefits. Children who are cared for by a foster family while waiting for a permanent placement have an easier time forming healthy attachments to their permanent family as opposed to children placed in orphanages or group homes. The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) website states that foster care can also help children avoid negative outcomes such as low graduation rates, substance abuse, unemployment and criminal activity. Foster families provide an important stability and connection for children who are faced with uncertain and difficult circumstances.
Foster Care Stats
Recently, the state of Louisiana has renewed its focus on finding homes for children. In fact, DCFS launched a new effort this month aimed at finding foster families for teens. According to the department’s website, teens make up approximately 20% of the children in the state’s care, but fewer than 5% of non-relative foster homes provide placement for them. Hopefully, the launch of the new campaign will help identify more families who are willing to foster these teens.
In 2018, DCFS identified and certified 930 new foster homes for children in Louisiana. In addition, more than 7,400 children in foster care were served in the state. Many of these children are ultimately reunited with their parents once circumstances improve, while others are adopted.
This May, we thank the dedicated and compassionate foster families who take on the important role of providing care to children in need. If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a foster parent, please contact us for more information.