Governor Granholm declares May as Foster Care Month
May 1, 2007
LANSING - Governor Jennifer M. Granholm has declared May as Foster Care Month in Michigan to highlight the vital role that foster families play in caring for the state's 18,500 foster children.
To celebrate the month, the annual state conference organized by the Michigan Association of Foster, Adoptive and Kinship Parents will be held May 18-20 at the Lansing Holiday Inn South. "This month pays tribute to the foster families who have opened their hearts and their homes to foster children," said Marianne Udow, Department of Human Services director. "These caring, dedicated individuals provide stability and support in traumatic times for youths every day."
Foster Care Month also provides an opportunity to make Michigan residents more aware of the need for caring, dedicated foster parents and the needs of children in foster care. Children usually enter foster care because of neglect or abuse in their homes. Foster care families provide safe, stable and supportive homes for these children and youths until they can be returned to their parents or are adopted into permanent homes.
Developing an adequate number of qualified foster families and relative caregivers is critical for the DHS child- and family-centered approach to foster care. This approach focuses on keeping children in their own homes whenever possible safely. When children must be removed, efforts focus on keeping children with siblings, relatives and in their communities to minimize the disruption in their lives.
"When children must be removed for their own safety, they often don't understand why and are frightened and confused," Udow said. "Caring foster families help provide important stability to these youths and can play a critical role in helping reunify the family or providing a permanent adoptive home. I encourage anyone who wants to help Michigan's children to explore becoming a foster or adoptive parent."
DHS rigorously screens foster and adoptive parents, provides training and offers a variety of support services including clothing and holiday allowances for children.