Each May, National Foster Care Month draws the attention of the nation to the year-round needs of children and youth in foster care here in Hawai‘i and across the country. It is a time to reflect on the challenges, and raise awareness about our youth who struggle to find guidance and a stable home. It is also a time to encourage more adults to get involved and help—whether as a foster parent, mentor, volunteer, donor or any of the other countless ways that are available.
The most recent study from the Hawai‘i state Department of Human Services in 2014 reported that 2,231 youths were in foster care in Hawai‘i. While there has been a steady decline over the last decade (5,353 youth in 2004), it unfortunately marks the first annual increase since then, higher than 2013’s count of 2,180. Also, a higher number of youths have been entering into foster care than have been leaving it in both 2013 and 2014. These are startling facts that we sincerely hope are not indicators of a new trend.
The availability of willing and capable foster parents in Hawai‘i is unfortunately few, while the demand is high. This shortage keeps children stuck in assistance and support programs that can provide some of the basics, but can’t offer the attention and support that a true family home provides. Hale Kipa works hard to raise awareness and encourage help from the community and potential foster parents.
Please consider the option of being a foster parent, or spread the message to those who may be able and willing. There is no greater gift to the community than to care for those who need it most. All of our children are our future; and those that are in difficult situations by no choice of their own deserve the same opportunities, care, guidance, and love.
We invite you to please read the recent article published in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser written by Mary Westmoreland, a proud Hale Kipa foster parent and 33-plus year child-care provider titled “Being A Foster Parent To Just 1 Child Can Greatly Change Lives Of Many”.
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