CONTRIBUTED BY NANCY BUCKNER, COMMISSIONER, ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN RESOURCES
Ask a foster parent what it is like to open their heart and their home to a child or teenager in foster care, and you may get an answer like this: “It’s not easy, but the experience is life-changing.”
That sentiment is shared by many foster parents throughout Alabama who selflessly provide safety and support to our most vulnerable children and youth. We recognize and celebrate these heroes in May as our state commemorates National Foster Care Month.
These remarkable men and women transform hardship into hope with their outpouring of patience, love and understanding. Through thick and thin, they remain committed to supporting the unique needs of young Alabamians who are in foster care through no fault of their own.
Many of these children and teenagers have endured unimaginable trauma, including abuse and neglect. Each has a different background, but all share a need for compassionate adults who want to help. In the words of an NBA legend, “All kids need is a little help, a little hope and somebody who believes in them.” Foster parents are living proof.
Their mentorship and unconditional love build confidence and self-worth in these resilient children and youth. They teach important social skills that will benefit children throughout their lives. They are unwavering believers in the potential of all God’s children, fueling hope for a bright future.
The greatest reward for foster parents comes from witnessing the transformative power of their efforts. They are fulfilled in knowing that their hard work and persistence through difficult times have positively impacted the lives of foster children. At the same time, foster parents experience their own gratifying personal growth.
As they continue to support our most vulnerable children and youth, Alabama’s foster parents need support from you. There are many ways you can help; however, the most impactful way to support them is to join them.
With approximately 2,300 foster homes statewide, there is a great need for more families to care for Alabama’s foster children and youth, who currently number around 5,700. A particularly critical need is for more families who can foster sibling groups, children with special needs and older youth.
Please consider starting your own rewarding journey as a foster parent and make a lasting difference in a child’s life. The Department of Human Resources office in your county is an excellent source of information to help you get underway. Like so many other foster parents, the experience is sure to change your life in extraordinary ways.
Visit www.dhr.alabama.gov to learn more about foster care and to find contact information for your local DHR office.
162 sheriffs and chiefs of police from across the state called on the legislature to pass the Alabama Gang Prevention