GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — May is National Foster Care Month, and D.A. Blodgett – St. John’s is launching an awareness campaign to help debunk common myths and misconceptions around foster care. According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, there are approximately 10,000 children in foster care in Michigan, and the need for foster parents is greater than ever.
“Foster care can be an incredible experience, and we need caring people to be there for children,” said Stacey Goodson, Recruitment, Retention, and Training Specialist at DABSJ and a foster parent herself. “Unfortunately, there are many myths and misconceptions surrounding foster care that can prevent people from even considering it. This month we are focusing on dispelling those myths, so more children in Michigan can be safe in loving and stable homes.”
Some of the common myths around foster care include:
- Myth: You have to be married to become a foster parent.
- Myth: You have to be a homeowner to become a foster parent.
- Myth: You cannot be LGBTQ+ and become a foster parent.
- Myth: Foster parents have no say in the children they care for.
“These myths can prevent people from even considering foster care, but the requirements are much more accessible than many people think,” said Goodson. “You don’t have to be married or have a large house, and you can be your authentic self. Foster children come from all walks of life, and they can be some of the most resilient and inspiring children you’ll ever meet. We need foster parents from different walks of life, too.”
Additionally, it’s crucial that prospective foster parents know they are supported by a team of professionals throughout their time as a licensed family.
“We believe that every child in Michigan deserves a safe and loving home, and we need more foster parents to make that a reality,” said Goodson. “Your love could change a life, and we encourage anyone who is interested in learning more about foster care to consider taking that first step during National Foster Care Month.”
In addition to the ongoing need for foster parents, the COVID-19 pandemic has made the situation even more urgent. Many children have experienced trauma and instability during the pandemic, and there has been a significant increase in the number of children entering the foster care system.
“We know that the pandemic has been a challenging time for everyone, but it has been especially difficult for children in foster care,” said Goodson. “Becoming a foster parent during this time can be a lifeline for a child in need.”
DABSJ hosts monthly foster care information meetings for those who are interested. For more information, visit dabsj.org or contact [email protected].