National Foster Care Month 2015: Get to know the many faces of foster care

May is National Foster Care Month. It’s an ideal time to build awareness of how we can improve the lives of children in or at risk of entering foster care.

This year’s theme for Foster Care Month is “Get to know the many faces of foster care,” highlighting the diversity of the children, families and professionals involved in child welfare.

More than 400,000 children live in foster care today. With 3.5 million referrals to child protection agencies each year, child welfare is an issue of national importance. Everyone has a role to play in improving the life outcomes for vulnerable children and their families.

As President Obama eloquently said in his proclamation on National Foster Care Month: “At the heart of the American story is the simple truth that all children should have a fair chance at success, no matter who they are or where they come from. Central to this promise of opportunity are the love and support of family — which all girls and boys deserve, but not enough have.”

One way that we support awareness this month is through Shadow Day, an important effort led by the National Foster Youth Institute and Foster Club, to uplift the voices of youth in foster care around federal policy. During a visit to our nation’s capital on May 18-20, nearly 70 alumni of foster care were matched with their congressional members to shadow them for a day. The youth also attended a special “Champions of Change” White House breakfast and a luncheon with their representatives.

These young people will have an opportunity to share their personal stories, as well as thoughts on how to improve foster care. They will learn more about policy, advocacy and government firsthand and share their Shadow Day experience on social media with the hashtag #FosterYouthVoices.

Casey Family Programs is also excited to support the efforts of FosterMore.org to raise awareness nationally about the need to help every child in foster care reach his or her full potential. Thanks to a strong partnership with Disney/ABC Networks and an unprecedented coalition of philanthropic, marketing and communications companies, FosterMore will broadcast public service announcements on television stations and online media across the United States. Please be sure to watch FosterMore’s new PSA featuring the hit song by One Direction, “The story of my life.”

To learn more, visit the official website of National Foster Care Month, hosted by the Children’s Bureau.

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