Mitchell, SD – May is Foster Care Awareness Month. Every child deserves a home and a family. That is one of the reasons Abbott House celebrates Foster Care Awareness month. Strong families are South Dakota’s foundation and our future.
To celebrate this year Abbott House will recognize outstanding foster parents with a Foster Parent Champion Award. Nominations will be accepted through May 31, 2019. Announcement of the winners will be made at the 80th Anniversary events in September in Mitchell and Rapid City.
“Give foster parents one of the best ‘thank you’s’ they can receive by nominating them to be a Foster Parent Champion Award winner,” Eric Klooz, Abbott House executive director, said. “Foster families give many South Dakota children the opportunity their dreams of having a family come true.”
In 2017, more than 690,000 children spent time in U.S. foster care according to Children’s Rights. The average age of a child in foster care is more than 8 years old, and there are slightly more boys than girls.
Typically children and youth enter foster care because they have been abused, neglected or abandoned by their parents or guardians. In other ways, foster care children are the same as all other children; they are learning and growing; they like to hang out with their family and friends and they need guidance.
In South Dakota there were 1,603 children in foster care in 2017 according to the Annie E Casey Foundation. Of those children 83% of them were living in families instead of in a group home or treatment facility. That is an increase of 4% over 2007. The majority of these children (50%) live with families to whom they are not related, while 23% of them live with a relative. Research shows that placing children with relatives or close friends when they cannot live with their own families helps minimize the trauma of removal, maintaining vital connections and often keeping siblings groups together.
In South Dakota the majority of children enter foster care due to neglect, parental substance abuse and/or incarceration and physical abuse, Klooz said. “Because of these entry reasons, most or our children are searching for safety, security and someone who will accept them and love them for who they are. That is why the Bridges by Abbott House Therapeutic Foster Homes are so successful.”
Abbott House has three Bridges Therapeutic Foster Homes in Mitchell, SD and two in Rapid City, SD. Abbott House is also expanding its therapeutic foster care options in the Black Hills area during 2019. Within South Dakota there are many different types of foster parent programs. If you need a Foster Parent Champion Award nomination or have any interest in becoming a foster parent, please contact Abbott House at firstname.lastname@example.org or 605-996-2486. Together we can change the future of our children.