Behind the Smiles
2015's National Foster Care Awareness month appears to again have been a huge success.
Events were held almost daily all across the country. Former foster kids got together for a big conference in Baltimore to network and interact, Darryl McDaniels of Run DMC, a former foster kid himself, spoke at the event put on by the Fostering Change Network. The White House honored former foster kids as Champions of Change in a once in a lifetime event that included an appearance by a famous alum from care, NFL star, Jimmy Graham. Kids from all over the nation convened in the capital and spent time working with Congress members at the annual Foster Youth Shadow Day, an experience provided by the Congressional Caucus of Foster Youth.
Kids from foster care got adopted! You liked their photos on social media, they held a sign that told you how many days they'd been in care. You wore ribbons. You changed profile pictures to show support. You ran 5ks and bid on items with the proceeds going to a local agency. You thought about how you could help. You watched heart wrenching videos and movies about foster care. You cheered on feel good stories. You applauded those who had made it through successfully.
Then June 1st will appear and we disappear from your consciousness. We go back to being the first or last story on the newscast. We become the story on your newsfeed you pass by. We fade back into the background.
Every month is foster care month for me because it deserves to be.
When May 31 11:59p.m. switches over to the next day, next month, there will still be nearly 400, 000 kids in care. There will still be 57, 000 kids in group homes, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation. There will still be upwards of 20, 000 kids aging out of the system each year.
Kids will still enter care at age 9, on average, and stay in care for more than two years. Traumatized kids will still be misdiagnosed and given psychotropic medications they don't need.
There will still be kids who will attend 10 schools and move to a dozen homes while in care. Kids in care will still fuel the pipeline that is Human Trafficking.
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