There is tremendous diversity in foster care. From single-parent foster families; children who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ); multiracial families; and grandparents and other extended relatives, it takes a variety of people to support children, youth, and families in foster care. The Children's Bureau's 2015 National Foster Care Month theme, "Get to Know the Many Faces of Foster Care," draws attention to the different roles we can play in the lives of those involved with foster care. And fathers are critical partners in helping children and youth achieve and maintain permanency.
Involved fathers can help children lead happier and healthier lives. Whether you're a foster father, a father who was reunited with your children after experiencing out-of-home care, the adoptive father of a child from foster care, a grandfather or an uncle providing kinship care, a mentor or coach, or a professional working with dads, you play an important role in helping children and youth navigate through foster care and toward permanency. The National Foster Care Month (NFCM) initiative, a microsite through Child Welfare Information Gateway, offers free information and tools to support those who enhance the lives of children and youth in foster care. The microsite is rife with resources for youth, foster parents and caregivers, child welfare professionals, Tribes, and communities. To truly experience the diversity of foster care, visit the Real-Life Stories webpage.
These stories showcase the wide-ranging strengths and challenges faced by children, youth, and families in care; the variety of permanency options available; and the professionals working in the field. They also highlight fathers who are making a difference. Isaiah's story is about a son and his father reuniting after 21 months of involvement with foster care. Casey's story is about an older male youth who found permanency through his mentor who later became Casey's adoptive father.
Child Welfare Information Gateway offers other resources for dads, like the tip sheet "Ten Ways to Be a Better Dad," which is just one of 19 parent tip sheets (in English and Spanish) in the 2015 Prevention Resource Guide: Making Meaningful Connections. For resources to help professionals working with dads, visit the following web sections on Information Gateway's website:
- Engaging Fathers and Paternal Family Members
- Family Engagement Inventory
- Fatherhood Resources
- Fatherhood Organizations
- Topical Training for Caseworkers: Father Involvement
Children and youth need a wide system of supportive adults, and fathers are just one piece in that puzzle. Whether you are a father, play the role of a father figure in someone's life, or work with fathers, there are a variety of ways you can support a child or youth in foster care. For more resources and tools to get involved, visit the National Foster Care Month website today!
Child Welfare Information Gateway
Child Welfare Information Gateway promotes the safety, permanency, and well-being of children, youth, and families by connecting child welfare, adoption, and related professionals as well as the public to information, resources, and tools covering topics on child welfare, child abuse and neglect, out-of-home care, adoption, and more.
Child Welfare Information Gateway is a service of the Children's Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Visit them online at www.childwelfare.gov