Social Workers On the Front Lines of Foster Care

NASW Recognizes May as Foster Care Month

WASHINGTON An estimated 523,000 children are living away from their families in foster care, with nearly 20,000 children aging out of the system this year. The National Association of Social Workers, in partnership with the Casey Family Programs, recognizes May as Foster Care Month to spotlight the needs of this vulnerable population of children. Social workers play a key role in the recruitment of qualified foster parents, placing children in supportive homes, and coordinating available resources for families.

For too many children, what should be a short-term fix, becomes a long term solution, says NASW President Gary Bailey, MSW. Social workers try to place children in foster care with a nurturing, supportive family.

Nearly every community across the country is seeking more foster parents to meet the needs of the children in foster care. Foster parenting is a rewarding and challenging opportunity for those who wish to make a difference in a child's life. Foster homes allow displaced children to live with their siblings, remain in their own neighborhoods and stay in their schools. One key to a successful foster care system one that is addressing the needs of all children is the addition of more foster parents. Others are qualified staff, reasonable caseloads, and adequate resources.

In addition to becoming a foster parent, there are so many ways to contribute to foster care:

  • Share Your Heart by mentoring a young person, donating gently used goods, and support foster care alumni.
  • Open Your Home by helping a foster care alumni find affordable housing, raising money to support foster care programs, or becoming a respite care provider.
  • Give Hope by helping a youth in foster care with career options, assisting with financial advice, or becoming a professional social worker.

The most formidable challenge facing foster care social workers is finding appropriate placements for displaced children. With the shortage of foster parents, children have to rely on group residences for their homes. With an increase in the number of foster parents, children will benefit from more suitable placements.

Social workers, along with other supporters, are dedicated to improving the lives of these children every day, says Bailey. National Foster Care Month highlights the year-round needs of children in foster care and the dedication of the people who serve them.

For more information regarding NASW, please visit . To find out about experiences of social workers in child welfare, please visit .
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