Shining a Spotlight on National Foster Care Month

A safe, nurturing home: Every child deserves it. Foster parents provide it.

Ideally, every child’s biological family would be able to provide a safe, nurturing environment to support their healthy development. However, when a family struggles to provide safety and basic needs for their children, foster parents are needed.

This May, we’re honoring National Foster Care Month by recognizing the important role of foster families and the ways El Paso Center for Children does its part to foster hope and love.

What is National Foster Care Month?

First recognized in 1988, National Foster Care Month – sometimes abbreviated as NFCM – takes place every May across the United States. This initiative developed by the Children’s Bureau seeks to increase nationwide awareness of opportunities and issues concerning foster care. The theme for 2024’s National Foster Care Month is “Engaging Youth. Building Supports. Strengthening Opportunities.”

The Importance of National Foster Care Month

With long-term success and outcomes in mind, National Foster Care Month places an emphasis on all things related to child welfare — including strengthening relationships, developing support systems, and uncovering opportunities. It also highlights the importance of involving young people throughout their time in foster care to improve their experience and increase the likelihood of successful outcomes.

There are currently 391k children and youth in foster care.1 

In 2021, 77% of eligible youth in foster care (ages 14-21) exited care without receiving the federally funded services designed to help prepare them for adulthood and independent living.2

Because access to the right resources and opportunities are essential for youth in foster care, National Foster Care Month is a reminder that child welfare professionals need to work collaboratively with related professionals to ensure they’re setting these children and teens to thrive in the future.

Fostering Hope & Love at El Paso Center for Children

When it comes to foster care in Texas, the State’s ultimate goal for children in foster care is reunification with their biological families. El Paso Center for Children partners with foster families and the State to keep children and youth safe while working towards reunification.

Filling a unique and vital role in the role of the community, becoming a foster parent through El Paso Center for Children helps enrich the lives of children and families within the foster care system. The skilled care and compassion of foster parents help youth on their journey towards healing and growing to their full potential.

It’s important to remember that, while fostering is incredibly rewarding, it does come with its challenges—such as the possibility that a family’s role in a child’s life may be temporary. Also, some foster care youth require extra love and support. Below are examples of foster families best suited to help children thrive while navigating especially challenging circumstances:

  • Families capable of accommodating 2 or more children. Siblings removed from their biological family’s home fare better when they stay together.
  • Families that understand and appreciate adolescence to care for teenagers. Already a tough stage of life, older children require loving and resilient families to help them cope with their current situation and uncertain futures.
  • Families willing to work with children/youth who have a higher level of medical or behavioral health needs. This might include (but is not limited to) chronic illness or disability, developmental special needs, and/or support through trauma recovery.* Acceptance is crucial for healing.

*Some youth in foster care are survivors of sex trafficking and require a greater degree of care and support while working through trauma recovery. El Paso Center for Children carefully screens and places these children in homes capable of meeting these needs.

Foster Care Eligibility

Because a foster parent plays such a crucial role in the life of a child, El Paso Center for Children carefully screens and evaluates potential foster families to ensure the best possible outcome for youth in foster care. If you’re ready to make a difference in a child’s life, you should start by checking your foster care eligibility.

For more information or to start your journey towards becoming a foster parent, contact El Paso Center for Children.

LEARN MORE

To learn more about National Foster Care Month, check out the Foster Care resources from El Paso Center for Children or visit the National Foster Care Month website, an official website of the Children’s Bureau and Child Welfare Information Gateway.

 


 

CITATIONS

1 Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2024, January). National Foster Care Month Outreach Toolkit. Child Welfare Information Gateway. https://www.childwelfare.gov/resources/national-foster-care-month-outreach-toolkit/ 

2 The Annie E. Casey Foundation. (2023). Fostering Youth Transitions 2023: State and National Data to Drive Foster Care Advocacy. Baltimore, MD; The Annie E. Casey Foundation. Retrieved May 2024, from https://assets.aecf.org/m/resourcedoc/aecf-fosteringyouth-executivesummary-2023.pdf