Celebrating those who help abused, neglected kids

Gov. Rick Snyder has proclaimed May as Foster Care Month and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is highlighting the crucial role foster families provide in protecting children who were abused or neglected.

State officials say approximately 13,000 Michigan children need loving foster homes while the state works to reunite them safely with their parents or find adoptive homes.

Michigan has close to 6,000 licensed foster homes, plus 2,800 children live in unlicensed relative homes.

“Our foster parents have great patience, compassion and skill,” said Steve Yager, executive director of the MDHHS Children’s Services Agency. “These selfless individuals keep children safe and care for their needs during difficult times while we work to find them permanent homes – either through reunification with their families if that’s safe or finding adoptive parents.”

“Every day I appreciate what foster families do to support children in need,” Yager said, “but it’s fitting that we have a month to recognize their efforts.”

The Foster Care Navigator program, which partners with MDHHS in recruiting and retaining foster families, is featuring some of the many outstanding foster parents and kinship caregivers all month on its website at fcnp.org.

Yager said May is also a good time to recognize adoptive families, employees of state and private agencies, the courts and community and faith-based organizations for the support they provide to children in foster care and to their biological and foster families.

Anyone who is considering becoming a foster parent can call Foster Care Navigator at 855-MICHKIDS.

Navigators are experienced foster care parents who can answer questions and guide prospective foster parents on their journey.

For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/hopeforahome or text MDHHS FOSTER to 64468 to receive updates about fostering.