National Foster Care Month: How Foster Parents Help Foster Youth Succeed and Have Better Futures
1st of May 2021
May is National Foster Care Month, a special time to honor and celebrate our foster parents, foster youth, staff, and community leaders who work tirelessly to support and empower our youth. Did you know there are currently over 10,000 foster children in the Inland Empire, and over 30,000 children in the Los Angeles County foster care system who need safe, loving homes? Amongst those with the highest needs are our more vulnerable, but resilient population, at-risk teens. They have behavioral and emotional challenges due to experiencing past trauma, and need patient, supportive adults who can provide them with guidance and a family-based environment to thrive.
Foster parents can help youth who are struggling with abuse, neglect, low self-esteem and behavioral challenges by loving them unconditionally, showing them positive coping skills, listening without judgement, and being supportive when they express their feelings. They can also offer them a sense of safety, which allows them to learn how to create healthy attachments to adult figures, which will help them learn how to trust. If you choose to become a foster parent, your love and guidance will not only touch the life of a youth. The skills you teach youth today, will help them become successful in society tomorrow. They can also pass along the skills and wisdom you share with them to other youth in their communities, or their own children when they become parents.
Fostering youth has even more benefits. According to Waridi Heard, a Trinity Youth Services Adoptive parent, “I really believe that it’s up to us to keep kids off the streets, out of jails, and help them stop making poor choices. I believe that God placed it in my heart to save as many of His babies as possible. He challenged me to step out of what was comfortable for me, which was just raising my own kids and my grandchildren. Fostering and adopting is helping me grow and is fulfilling my purpose in the world.”
Some people think about becoming foster parents but are fearful about getting attached and experiencing the feelings of loss. However, many teens who age out of the system keep in touch with their foster parents, and even visit them. According to Eve Powers, a former foster youth, I am still in touch with my very first foster mom, who took care of me when I was an infant. She is now 91 years-old, and I am still very much a part of her family.”
Qualifying to be a foster parent may be easier than you think. You can own your own home or be a renter. You can be married or single. You can also be in the LGBTQ community, and you don’t have to be an experienced parent. If you can provide a safe, loving home to a youth, are 21 years or older, can pass a background check and a home inspection, you may be able to qualify.
If you aren’t ready to become a foster parent, but want to help youth, you can become a mentor, volunteer or make a monetary donation to the Children’s Foundation of America. The Children’s Foundation of America provides support to over 2,000 children each year and provides more than 3,300 holiday gifts to displaced and disadvantaged youth. Visit their website to make a donation.
If you’re ready to take the first step in becoming a foster parent, schedule a Foster Parent Orientation today by calling 909-825-5588 ext. 230, or visit our website. Trinity Youth Services offers a variety of programs that empower youth, such as a successful Foster-Adopt program, Home-Based Family Care, Intensive Services Foster Care and Mental Health Services. For more information, please visit www.TrinityYS.org.