Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has proclaimed May “Foster Care Month,” joining other states and organizations across the country in saluting foster parents and encouraging others to takes steps to serve children in the year ahead.
“Family is the crucible of a child’s life,” said Tennessee Department of Children’s Services Commissioner Kathryn O’Day. “Children must live in a safe, stable, and loving family in order to develop properly. When a child’s own family is unable to care for them, foster families are a lifeline for them. During Foster Care Month, we salute the thousands of Tennesseans who open their home to foster children, and at the same time we draw attention to the need for more foster families across our state.”
More than 5,600 children are in foster care in Tennessee. The Department of Children’s Services works to connect children with stable and devoted foster families to provide permanency in their lives.
Tennessee is number one in the nation in time to permanency and number two in the nation in time to adoption. Nonetheless, there currently are about 500 foster youth awaiting adoption. Foster parents who adopt are often no longer in a position to continue fostering after an adoption is finalized, so there is always a need for more foster families. Those interested in adopting or becoming foster parents should call 1-877-DCS-KIDS.
Commissioner O’Day will mark Foster Care Month by participating in the Walk Me Home 5k walk for foster care. The event, held in more than 100 communities nationwide, takes place May 19 at Bicentennial Mall in Nashville. The walk begins at 9 a.m. Entertainment will follow at 10 a.m. and feature a special guest appearance by 12-time Grammy winner Emmylou Harris. Visit www.firstgiving.com/walkmehome/event/nashville for more information on the event and visit http://www.fostercaremonth.org/eventsandpromotions/eventscalendar/pages/default.aspx for a listing of additional events statewide.