May is Foster Parent Appreciation Month. Foster families across the state open their hearts and homes to children from all walks of life to provide them a temporary and safe haven to vulnerable children. Illinois DCFS is encouraging the public to become licensed foster parents. Children are placed in the temporary care of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services by courts when it is determined that families cannot safely care for them. DCFS works with the family to make the positive changes necessary to reunite with their children.
Today there are just under 21,000 children living in foster care in the state with 8,600 in foster families, 11,300 with relatives, and 600 in group homes and institutions. Illinois DCFS Director Marc D. Smith says foster families help children get a stable home and strong connections to school, friends, siblings, and other family members to thrive.
Foster homes are needed for sibling groups, adolescents, African American and Latino children, children with special medical needs, teenage mothers and their babies, and LGBTQ children. To learn more about the children available visit www.greenlightfamilyservices.org/heartgalleryofil/. For those who make the commitment to being a foster parent require a serious commitment of time, energy, stability, and love. Foster families work with DCFS and private agencies including birth families, counselors, physicians, and the courts to reunite children with their families whenever possible.
Licensing to become a foster parent can take up to six months. Foster families must participate in a social assessment and home inspection, complete training on foster care and the needs of children who are in foster care, complete a criminal background check of all household members, be financially stable, and complete a health screening. Parents must be at least 21 years old and can be married, in a civil union, single, divorced, or separated. They can also work full-or part-time, go to school, or be a stay at home parent. To learn more visit www2.illinois.gov/dcfs. Thank you to all the foster parents from Regional Radio News.