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A month to support foster care efforts across the state

May is Foster Care Month, which provides all Michiganders an opportunity to consider how they can help with the goal of providing a safe and supportive home for children who need temporary out-of-home care.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has issued a proclamation to increase awareness about the importance of foster families and recognize all they do for children.

“Every child deserves to have an adult in their life who is their champion and a home where they feel safe and secure,” Whitmer said. “Parenting isn’t easy, and sometimes families need extra support. Foster parenting is one of the most selfless things you can do, and I am so grateful for the Michiganders who have stepped up to provide loving homes for children who need them.”

About 11,500 children are in foster care in Michigan. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services oversees the state’s foster care system.

“MDHHS is committed to finding as many loving temporary foster homes as we can to best meet the needs of children and families,” said Demetrius Starling, executive director of the MDHHS Children’s Services Agency. “We hope that more Michigan residents will consider foster parenting during May and throughout the year. As a foster parent, you can serve as a support for families who may benefit from your mentoring, insights and assistance — which is a critical role of foster parents and essential to children successfully reunifying with their families.”

The goal of foster parenting is to provide a temporary, safe and stable home that will partner with children’s biological parents while they access the resources and support to eventually reunite. In a small percentage of cases in which it is not safe for the child to return home, children need foster homes while an adoptive home is being found.

A primary goal of Children’s Services Agency is ensuring children in foster care can remain in their communities with their siblings. This requires adequate foster home availability in each of these areas of focus — foster homes that are willing to take placement of sibling groups, foster homes that are willing to care for teenagers and homes in every community throughout the state.

“We appreciate our foster parents across Michigan who have given hope and care to so many Michigan children,” Starling said. “We also are grateful for our private partner foster care organizations, tribal governments and the Foster Care Navigators who provide guidance to people who are interested in becoming a foster parent.”

During May, MDHHS and Foster Care Navigators also are making a special effort to recognize 31 outstanding foster and kinship families and the regional resource teams that assist them.

To learn more about foster parenting, go online to michigan.gov/HopeForAHome. Or call Foster Care Navigators at 855-MICHKIDS. Navigators are experienced foster care parents who can answer questions, help find an agency and provide guidance on becoming a foster parent.

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