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Foster families needed for children

By Staff
Tracie L. James MSW
Escambia County Department of Human Resources
It is time to come together on behalf of the 513,000 American children who are in foster care because their own families are in crisis and unable to provide for their essential needs of safety and well-being. Nearly 7,000 of these children are in Alabama’s own foster care system and 30 foster children right here in Escambia County. These children require safe, stable and nurturing environments to live in until they can either safely reunite with their parents or establish other lifelong family relationships.
Through my work with these young people, I know how resilient they can be. In my experience in working with these children over the past nine years I have witnessed that no matter how traumatic the abuse or neglect was to the child they are stronger than we think. Although they may need therapy to get through the situation, they still have the capacity to overcome and have success in life. Foster children have an extraordinary capacity to overcome many challenges – but only if they have the support of a caring adult in their lives.
If nothing changes by the year 2020, nearly 14 million confirmed cases of child abuse and neglect will be reported, and 22,500 children will die of abuse or neglect, most before their fifth birthdays. Alabama DHR has embarked on a campaign to recruit more foster/adoptive families. This campaign offers an opportunity for more people to come forward and serve these young people. Without permanent, nurturing relationships with adults, foster youth are fare more likely than their peers in the general population to endure homelessness, poverty, compromised health, unemployment, incarceration and other adversities after they leave the foster care system.
No matter how much time you have to give, you have the power to do something positive that will change a lifetime for a young person in foster care. We need families to open their hearts and open their homes for these children in need. Visit www.dhr.alabama.gov or call 1-866-4ALKids (1-866-425-5437) or contact Tracie James at the local Escambia County DHR office at (251) 809-2000 to find out about the many different ways to get involved.
Tracie L. James MSW
Escambia County Department of Human Resources