Every MFoster Care Awareness 2016 photoay, we take the opportunity to recognize the many people who help children and youth find permanent homes and connections during National Foster Care Month. This year’s theme, “Honoring, Uniting and Celebrating Families” emphasizes the importance of reunifying families. Family Reunification is the most desirable permanency goal for youth in foster care. In 2015, 281 children in Alameda County were safely and permanently reunified with their parents. One of them was a 9 year old girl who was removed from her father because of his substance abuse when she was 7. Her dad took on the very difficult work of the reunification process with steadfast commitment. He was an active participant in the Family Drug Court, building a network of support from the treatment providers, fellow parents in the program, and the court. While his daughter was in foster care with relatives, he fought his addiction, and he and his daughter were ultimately reunited. He continues on his road of recovery with his daughter, with the support of their relatives and team, and our client is thriving and thrilled to be reunited with her father. They are a family to be honored and celebrated this month.

While her story of reunification is inspiring, many more of our clients remain in foster care. This month we also pay tribute to all of the wonderful relatives, foster parents, teachers, social workers, CASAs, therapists, and others who work every day to help foster youth thrive whether or not they are able to be reunited with their parents. We shine a light on these heroes this month for the inspiration, dedication and love they provide to children every day.

What can you do to help?

If you have a few minutes . . .

  • Donate to an organization that helps foster youth, like EBCLO!
  • Set your Amazon Smiles charity to EBCLO.
  • Like EBCLO on Facebook and read about foster care issues in your news feed.  Or follow us on Twitter or Instagram!
  • Watch videos of foster youth’s real life stories.
  • Support Sleep Train’s pajama, school supplies and toy drives (EBCLO receives these items to distribute to clients).

If you have a few hours . . .

  • Learn more about California Youth Connection and support foster youth related legislation by contacting your legislator.
  • Attend Beyond the Table on May 21–a fundraiser to support Alameda County’s emancipated foster youth.
  • Read a book about a topic related to foster care from this list.

If you have a few months or more . . .\

  • Mentor an 18-21 year old foster youth through Beyond Emancipation.
  • Become a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA).
  • Become a foster parent through Seneca.