SALT LAKE CITY – It’s “National Foster Care Month,” and Utahns are encouraged to consider becoming foster parents to the hundreds of children in need of a good home.
Deborah Lindner, communications director for the nonprofit Utah Foster Care, said about 2,600 children are in the state’s foster care system at any one time. She said the kids involved are displaced from their birth family through no fault of their own.
“Children are removed from their homes, not because of anything they’ve done, because there’s been abuse or neglect in their biological home,” she said. “And so, Foster Care Month is a time to remind people that these kids are good kids. They are resilient, they need a permanent connection to a caring adult.”
Lindner said the goal of foster care is to eventually reunite the child with his or her birth family or close relatives. It’s increasingly common for foster families to adopt their foster child, with Utah Foster Care reporting nearly 600 such adoptions last year.
Lindner said there is also an ongoing need for foster families to take on kids from the same birth family.
“Some foster families that we are most in need of are people who will take sibling groups,” she said. “You know, most children in foster care, especially in Utah, have siblings – and it’s really, really important to keep brothers and sisters together.”
Lindner said 32 hours of training are required to become a foster parent, and the licensing process can take a few months to complete. She added that nearly 60 percent of children in foster care eventually are reunited with their birth families.