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Foster Child
Foster Care Month
5/3/2010
URGENT NEED FOR FOSTER PARENTS:
MAY IS NATIONAL FOSTER CARE MONTH

Charlotte, NC – May is National Foster Care Month, a time when the nation salutes the thousands of caring, compassionate adults who serve as foster parents, caregivers, social workers and volunteers. The campaign raises awareness about foster care and encourages more citizens to get involved in the lives of foster youths -- whether as their foster parents, volunteers, mentors, employers or in other ways.

There are approximately 845 children in the Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services (DSS) foster care system. Sibling groups and children age 11 and older are overly represented among those in DSS custody. Foster parents play a critical role in child welfare. Once a child is placed in the custody of DSS, foster parents provide a safe and loving environment. They also have the opportunity, in some circumstances, to “share parenting” with the biological parents of children in custody, creating a richer family environment that benefits parents and children alike. These temporary parents make personal sacrifices as they step in to take care of these vulnerable children. Many of these temporary parents go on to become permanent, adoptive parents.

“There is an urgent need for more foster parents in our community,” said Paul Risk, director of DSS Youth & Family Services division. “Separating from your family is a traumatic experience for a child regardless of the circumstances. We need more foster families who will step in and provide the guidance and support these children need during a very difficult time in their lives. So we need families to provide unconditional love, support and commitment.”

In honor of National Foster Care Month, DSS’s Youth and Family Services Division is involved in the following events to promote the importance of foster care and encourage everyone to consider becoming foster parents.

Foster Parent Orientation – Tuesday, May 25 at 6:30 p.m.
Charlotte East, 5800 Executive Center Drive, Charlotte, NC 28212
Those interested in becoming a foster parent can learn more about the process.

Spring Adoption Day – Friday, June 18 at 3 p.m.
Mecklenburg County Courthouse, 832 East Fourth Street, Charlotte, NC 28202
Chief District Court Judge Lisa Bell will finalize more than 30 foster adoptions. The public is invited and includes activities for children and refreshments.

To find out more about fostering, please call 704-336-KIDS (5437) or visit http://yfs.charmeck.org.

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Media Contact:
Tabitha Carnes, 704-432-2099 or 704-621-5279 (mobile); Tabitha.Carnes@MecklenburgCountyNC.gov



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