Today in America, nearly 430,000 children are living in foster care. Many are victims of abuse, neglect, emotional trauma, or other family challenges. Some live with relatives, while others live with foster families or in group facilities. The goal of foster care is to provide a safe and stable home environment for every child in need, from infants to teens.
May is National Foster Care Month, a time when foster organizations and healthcare providers around the country unite to promote public education and protect America’s children.
Why Do Children Enter Foster Care?
In most cases, a child is placed in foster care because a court has determined that the child’s home environment is unsafe or abusive. Abuse may be physical, psychological, or sexual. Many children placed in foster care have endured profound neglect or other emotional trauma. Often, courts will attempt to place a child in the care of relatives to preserve a sense of stability, continuity, and family connection. But in some cases, children are placed with foster families—non-relatives who create an environment where a child can thrive and grow.
The U.S. is home to many vulnerable populations. Underserved communities see higher levels of poverty and addiction, as well as child abuse and neglect. Minorities such as African-American, Latino, Native American, and LGBT youth tend to enter the foster system at a greater rate than the national average. Also, children with a mental health, behavioral, or developmental diagnosis are often at greater risk for being placed within the foster system. Foster care seeks to provide a safe haven for every child in need, and to offer family support to underserved populations.
What Do Foster Parents Do?
The aim of fostering is to place children in lifelong stable families that will provide them with the nurturing and emotional support they need. Some children’s stay in foster care is brief, while others remain with their foster families until adulthood. Foster families strive to minimize pain of displacement and to provide stability and normalcy, while helping prepare children for permanent placement.
How Can You Become A Foster Parent?
In Kentucky, prospective foster or adoptive parents must meet a set of requirements established by the state. Applicants are screened for
Applicants also must undergo a criminal background check. Successful candidates must attend pre-service preparation training. The overall education, training, and approval process typically takes between 3 and 6 months.
How You Can Help
Public education and involvement are essential to improving the foster system for all children. Here’s how you can get involved:
At Key Assets Kentucky, our trained staff is skilled in helping families in crisis. Our group home care program, Children in Community Care (CCC), provides safe and stable home settings for young people involved with the child welfare system due to their diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and a developmental or intellectual disability (DDID).
Youth who live in Key Assets group homes have complex needs that require an intensive, therapeutic placement option. Group home residences enable youth to live more independently with staff support. All group homes are located in residential neighborhoods allowing the opportunity for community living.
Have questions? Contact us today.
Key Assets Kentucky, is a behavioral health and child caring company based in Central Kentucky. Through our Key Assets Behavioral Health program and Children in Community Care program, we seek to positively impact the lives of children, young people, and their families. We specialize in offering support services via a residential treatment group home care for youth with autistic and/or developmental disabilities, and behavioral health counseling services for youth, adults and families in times of crisis.