“There can be no keener reflection of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” -Nelson Mandela
When I first introduced the idea of becoming foster parents to Colby, I’m sure he thought I was crazy. By this time, we already had all five of our children. But, I felt like we were being called to foster.
We’re repeatedly been told it “takes a special person to foster,” which is normally followed by, “I could never do it.”
“Loving and responsive parenting continues to be the most powerful way of supporting children in the foster care system.” -Foster, HBO
I believe more people are capable of being foster parents than are willing to admit it. Honestly, we need more people to step up!
Child welfare is one of our most pressing social justice issues and public health concerns. A recent national study revealed that 1 in 8 children suffer a confirmed case of neglect or abuse by the time they are 18 years old.
While most children remain in the care of their families, in many cases of abuse or neglect, the state intervenes by placing children in foster care.
The foster care system was designed to provide temporary homes for children whose families are in crisis. Instead, for too many, it has become an unacceptable long-term arrangement.
The sudden and traumatic separation of children from their families can create a generational cycle of poor educational, health, and well-being outcomes. The system is in desperate need of remodeling to safely meet the needs of the children and families it serves.
During National Foster Care Awareness Month, HBO is debuting its new documentary Foster, a poignant first-hand look at the foster care system through the eyes of those who know it best.
Drawing on unprecedented access, Foster explores the often-misunderstood world of foster care through compelling stories from the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, the largest county child welfare agency in the country.
Foster doesn’t cover every aspect of the child welfare system, but it is intended to help viewers understand the realities and challenges within the current child welfare system.
Colby and I sat down and watched the documentary with our teen girls so that we could have an open discussion about the foster care system. Knowing that our decision to foster affects their lives as well, we want to make sure they’re able to better understand what to expect.
“You can’t always write the beginning to your story, but you can definitely write the end.” -Mary
Having these deep conversations with our girls helps us all, as a family, better understand our role in the process and how we can love these children while they’re in our home.
Participant Media and HBO have tips on how to engage more deeply:
Empower all Foster Youth: Play a part in ensuring foster youth receive the support and guidance they need to be successful. Visit FosterMore.org/FosterDoc to become a mentor or a foster parent today.
Support a Foster Youth’s Academic Success: Visit Foster Care to Success and LifeSet Network to learn how you can work with a local foster care program to provide academic opportunities for young people in your community.
Tutor a Child in Foster Care: If you want to engage more directly in the academic success of foster youth, contact your local or county child welfare agency, Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCAs and YWCAs to ask about how to become a tutor.
Become an Advocate for Youth and Families: Advocates create meaningful and authentic connections with a young person through mentorship and provide support through the span of their case. Visit FosterClub or CASA to learn about opportunities.
Foster premieres Tuesday, May 7 at 7:00pm CT on HBO GO and HBO NOW.