May is National Foster Care Month
Every May, the Children's Bureau, together with Child Welfare Information Gateway and other partner organizations, promotes National Foster Care Month to raise awareness about the key roles everyone can play in the lives of children and youth in foster care. .
This year, the Children’s Bureau collaborated with parents, guardians, and young people with lived experience to develop its focus for the month. What we heard was that children and youth in foster care, and their caregivers, need us to focus on their mental well-being as diligently as we focus on their physical health and safety. This year's NFCM theme—"Strengthening Minds. Uplifting Families.”—highlights the importance of taking a holistic and culturally responsive approach to supporting the mental health needs of children and youth in foster care and their caregivers.
Key Facts and Statistics
There are over 391,000 children and youth in foster care. Mental and behavioral health is the largest unmet health need for these children and teens.
To meaningfully address the mental health needs of children, youth, and young adults in foster care requires a holistic approach that focuses broadly on their well-being within the contexts of home, family, school, work, and community.
Investing in culturally appropriate mental health supports that recognize an individual’s identity, culture, and lived experience may significantly improve the effectiveness of services and supports and improve long-term outcomes for children and youth.
Relational permanency is fundamental to the well-being of children and youth in foster care. Having stable, nurturing placements has positive impacts on children and youth’s resilience and long-term well-being.
Include these key points in your messaging to demonstrate the importance of prioritizing conversations about the mental health needs of children and youth in foster care and their caregivers.