May is National Foster Care Month, and the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services' Office of Children's Services is taking this opportunity to thank foster parents for working every day to care for Alaska children and families. By opening their homes and hearts, foster parents play a vital role in healing children and families in crisis.
Alaska foster families provide temporary homes, safety and nurturing to our children, but it's much more than that. It is often the foster family that helps build the bridge to reunite children and their family of origin.
When reunification is not possible, many of our foster families choose to adopt the children who have been placed in their homes, offering the children permanent and stable homes and families and a good life they might not otherwise know.
A foster parent's commitment leaves an indelible mark on generations to come. Foster parents help to end cycles of neglect, abuse and-or drug addiction and often help a child be the first in his or her family to finish high school or even go to college. Children leave their homes knowing there are many other paths in life than what they've known.
We know foster parents don't get nearly enough thanks or recognition for these efforts but we appreciate all that is done. Although the children don't always say this to their foster parents, their lives have been changed forever by the good deeds of the foster parents.
If you know a family providing foster care, take a moment right now to thank them for making a difference in the life of a child.
To all of our foster families we thank you for sharing your family and your home. You give love, encouragement and hope to children and families in need.
If you are interested in becoming a foster parent, please call Allison at 283-3136 or the Alaska Center for Resource Families hot line at (800) 478-7307. Or visit the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services' Office of Children's Services Web site to learn more becoming a foster parent at www.hss.state.ak.us/ocs/Foster Care/default.htm.
Allison Gottesman, Social worker II, licensing specialist, Kenai Field Office, Office of Children's Services , DHSS, Holly Mercado, Children's Services specialist
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