President Barack Obama proclaimed May as National Foster Care Month, “This month, we recommit to giving them that critical support, and we recognize the foster parents and professionals who work every day to lift up the children in their care toward a bright, productive future.”
It’s important for tweens to understand the needs of foster children and find ways to help classmates who may be in a foster home.
“It’s in everyone’s best interests to protect the most vulnerable in our society, children without the protection of loving, caring families,” said Margaret Iucalano, former foster child and founder of Angels for Foster Children.
Important statistics about foster children compiled from various sources:
In recent years, there have been more than 500,000 children in foster care nationally of those,
- 22 percent were available for adoption and after waiting an average 42 months in foster care, 18% of children were adopted.
- Every year, approximately 26,200 young people leave the foster care system without lifelong families – most at age 18
- More than half of the children who age out of foster care will be unemployed adults.
- Almost a third will be homeless.
- One in five will be incarcerated within two years.
Two Opportunities to Make a Difference:
Duffles for Kids
Former foster child Margaret Iuculano and spokeswoman for Duffels for Kids says that sometimes, it’s the smallest things foster children remember most.
“I was in foster care from age 11 to 16, when I aged out, and I was moved to 15 different homes in that time,” she says. “Every time I moved, I had to pack my few belongings in a black trash bag.
“When you’re already feeling abandoned, wondering whether anyone will ever want you or care about you, that trash bag seals it: No, they won’t. You’re a throwaway,” said Iuculano.
While workplace groups and communities have banded together and charities have sprung up across the country to address this problem, more foster care children than not continue to cart their belongings in trash bags. Consider organizing a duffle bag program in your community.
Back to School with Pride
Each school year, foster children are in need of school supplies and the Friends of Wake County Guardian ad Litem program collects needed items. Many of the children in Wake County (NC) attend year-round schools that begin on July 8 and wait until backpack collections are completed for the end-of-August start of traditional school to receive new school supplies.
“Having a child’s needs met in such a small way goes far in helping them feel less isolated and more prepared to succeed academically and socially. The cost of a back pack and supplies is insignificant for many of us. However, it can mean the world to a child who feels alone, abandoned, disconnected from their biological families,” said Babs Wagoner, coordinator for the Friends of Wake County GAL Program’s Back to School with Pride committee.
Wake County school supply drive will be held on June 11 (Tuesday) from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, 800 S. Salisbury St., Raleigh, N.C. Details on items needed are available on the Friends of Wake GAL Program website and donations may be mailed to Friends of Wake GAL Program at P.O. Box 4941, Cary, NC 27519.
Please share in the comment section below the ways your community is helping children in foster care .