April Showers, Bring May Flowers — And Awareness?

By Victor Lopez, Senior Staff Writer

about_foster_care

Rarely does the president of these United States do anything that directly affects me personally. Occasionally though the president does something that hits close to home. As we approach May, we recognize National Foster Care Month, an idea that Obama set into motion last year.

In 2008, I wrote “Transcending Trauma,” which was published by the Nation Magazine imploring the president to “do more” for those in foster care.

I thought I was justified in my asking. After all, I had been there. I am a product of forty foster homes, three group homes, and a small stint in a penal institution. Living almost my entire early life in foster care made me a pretty good expert and ally for the cause, even if I do not have any fancy credentials behind my name to lend credibility to my request.

Something tells me that the president didn’t take the time to read my cry for help. There were more important things, like finding Osama Bin Laden, bringing troops home and an election. Still, we have systemic issues facing our nations young.

National Foster Care Month should remind us that there are still young souls that need direction and help at the most delicate and impressionable moments of their lives.

While a good part of our nation appreciates childhood as a time to grow and learn in a protected environment, there are over 400 thousand children who don’t live at home. Thankfully Obama recognized this social issue in his proclamation. However, this means little if our citizenry fails to act.

Screen Shot 2013-04-10 at 2.13.57 PM
Image from http http://www.fostercaremonth.org.

The presidential proclamation says, “But for almost half a million children who are unable to remain at home through no fault of their own, childhood can be a time of sadness, pain, and separation. These children need and deserve safe, loving, and permanent families who can help restore their sense of well-being and give them hope for the future.”

The proclamation continued, “During National Foster Care Month, we recognize the promise of America’s children and youth in foster care, and we commend the devotion and selflessness of the foster parents who step in to care for them. We also pay tribute to the professionals nationwide who work to improve the safety of our most vulnerable children and assist their families in addressing the issues that brought them into the child welfare system.”

More than words and fancy proclamations, as April showers bring May flowers, think about the half million children in the foster care system today. Most will end up populating prisons and resort to a life of drugs and crime. Instead of being given support and direction where they will benefit society, they will be state raised from birth and childhood in foster care to adulthood in prison or the morgue. Absent the ability to love and be loved and to excel, they will flounder instead of flourish.

Sometimes it is just a case of a positive role model, willing to take the time to help an at risk youth.

Fostercaremonth.org correctly asserts, “All children — including the 408,000 American children and youth in foster care — deserve a safe, happy life. Young people in foster care especially need nurturing adults on their side because their own families are in crisis and unable to care for them.”

I realize in our nation we each have our own problems. Many average families are struggling to make ends meet. However, we can struggle together. There are many ways to become involved.

While you enjoy the bounty that April weather brings, remember those among us who don’t have a voice. Help give those invisible angels a glimmer of hope in a dark place.

 Originally published by The Huffington Post.  Cross-posted with permission from the author.   

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