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Foster Care Month Spotlights Year-Round Needs of 523,000 U. S. Children; Public Urged to Help Change a Lifetime for Children in Foster Care
Foster Care Month Spotlights Year-Round Needs of 523,000 U. S.
Children; Public Urged to Help Change a Lifetime for Children in
4/26/2005 12:58:00 PM
Contact: Cathy Nolan, 845-621-2403, for National Foster Care Month;
SEATTLE, April 26 /U. S. Newswire/ -- America's leading child welfare
agencies, advocates, experts, and foster care alumni will launch a
national campaign in May to enlist more public participation in
activities that make a positive difference in the lives of young
people in foster care. National Foster Care Month serves as a platform
for connecting more than a half a million at-risk youth to caring
adults and the other year-round support they need.
The number of Americans who have been affected by foster care is
-- There are more than 12 million foster care alumni in the U. S.
-- An estimated 523,000 children and youth are living away from home
because their families are in crisis and unable to provide for their
-- More than 2 million additional children are living with
grandparents or other relatives.
-- Children of color represent 59 percent of the foster care
population. Research indicates that while they are not at greater risk
for abuse and neglect, children of color are disproportionately
represented in the system.
-- This year, nearly 20,000 youth will age out of foster care.
Many of them are only 18 years old and still require significant
support and services or they will be left vulnerable to homelessness,
unemployment, compromised mental health, poor educational status,
poverty, substance abuse, and incarceration.
"We must address the pressing needs of the foster care population now
or face the consequences for generations to come," says Virginia Pryor
of Casey Family Programs and chair of National Foster Care Month.
"Every child deserves a stable, loving family and a chance to succeed
as an adult. Our goals for Foster Care Month and beyond are to help
raise national awareness of what these children need and to inspire
many more people to come forward and help as foster parents, mentors,
volunteer advocates and in other ways. We want to ensure that every
young person who leaves foster care establishes a permanent, lifelong
relationship with a nurturing adult."
Three prominent foster care alumni are working to help the next
generation of youth succeed in life. As National Foster Care Month
spokespeople, they are mobilizing the television, music, and fashion
industries to establish mentoring programs assisting older youth in
care with workplace preparation.
Victoria Rowell, award-winning television and film actress, spent 18
years in foster care. She recently received the NAACP Best Actress
award for her role as Drucilla Winters and the foster care storyline
she introduced on the CBS daytime drama The Young and the Restless.
Through her nonprofit, the Rowell Foster Children's Positive Plan, she
collaborates with top entertainment companies including Sony and
Viacom/CBS Television in developing internships that allow foster
youth to work behind the scenes of some of Hollywood's most successful
Tony Shellman, the co-founder of ENYCE Clothing (a Liz Claiborne
Company), is a trendsetter in the hip-hop and fashion industries who
was adopted from foster care at a very young age. Shellman's story was
recently featured in Black Enterprise magazine as a profile in
courage. This year, ENYCE will begin offering career mentoring
opportunities to foster youth interested in the world of fashion.
Kashif never knew his birth parents and endured an early life of
abandonment and abuse. He grew up living in eight different foster
homes in the poorest neighborhoods of Brooklyn, N. Y.
Today, Kashif is a successful entrepreneur and an award- winning
songwriter, musician, and producer. He is the author of several books
and software programs that teach others how to navigate the music
industry. He shares his expertise with foster youth via his Kashif
University courses and through internships at his own company,
Now is the time to get involved and change the lifetime of a child.
During May, there are hundreds of planned community events and
activities that raise awareness and help increase support for youth in
foster care. For more information on local events and the many ways to
get involved, visit http://www.fostercaremonth.org or call (888)
National Foster Care Month is a partnership of Casey Family Programs;
the Annie E. Casey Foundation/Casey Family Services; Black
Administrators in Child Welfare; Children's Bureau, Administration for
Children and Families, U. S. Department of Health and Human Services;
Child Welfare League of America; Connect for Kids; Jim Casey Youth
Opportunities Initiative; APHSA/National Association of Public Child
Welfare Administrators; National Association of Social Workers;
National CASA; National Foster Care Coalition; National Foster Parent
Association; and the National Resource Center for Family-Centered
Practice and Permanency Planning Hunter College School of Social Work,
a Service of the Children's Bureau.
Defend your civil liberties! Get information at http://www.aclu.org, become a member at http://www.aclu.org/join and get active at http://www.aclu.org/action.
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