It is time to come together on behalf of over 400,000 American children and youth who are in foster care because their families are in crisis, and they cannot currently provide safe, nurturing home environments. Approximately 5,700 of these children are in Alabama’s foster care system, and 34 of them are right here in Marion County. These children need safe, stable and loving homes where they can stay until they can safely reunite with their biological parents or establish other lifelong family relationships.
Through my work with these young Alabamians, I know how resilient they can be. Most foster children have an extraordinary capacity to overcome their challenging circumstances and grow up to become happy, productive members of our communities, but they need our help to get there.
The Alabama Department of Human Resources continuously campaigns to recruit more foster and adoptive families. This campaign offers opportunities to inform policymakers, business leaders, members of faith-based organizations and others in Marion County about the urgent need for many more men and women to step forward and serve these young people. Without permanent, nurturing relationships with adults, foster youth are far more likely than their peers in the general population to experience homelessness, poverty, compromised health, unemployment, incarceration and other adversities after they leave the foster care system. Of special note are our foster children ages 4-10, for whom permanency is often difficult to achieve. They are the hardest children to place because there is often greater interest in fostering babies and toddlers. We have a great need for more foster families to care for children in this 4-10 age group.
So, how can you help? No matter how much time you can offer, you have the power to do something positive that will change the life of a young person in foster care.
While I heartily applaud and appreciate
the wonderful foster families who are currently serving children in Marion County, I cannot stress enough that more are needed. We need families to open their hearts and homes to these children. Even if you cannot serve this important role, you can still support foster children and foster families in other ways. You can sponsor birthday cakes, prom dresses, musical instruments, music lessons and so much more. Please call Marion County DHR at 205-921-6000 for more information.
Kier Vickery, LMSW director
See complete story in the Journal Record.