National Foster Care Day – May 3, 2022

National Foster Care Day is observed on the first Tuesday of May each year and takes place on May 3 this year. This important day is part of National Foster Care Month, which was implemented to recognize the efforts made by foster parents in the U.S. As time passes, the focus of the month and the day keeps changing. However, at the heart of it, National Foster Care Day remains an important occasion that celebrates caregivers and the system that makes foster care possible. Foster care refers to a system in which children who do not have appropriate guardians are placed in a home or with private caregivers who function as state-appointed guardians, often on a short-term basis.

History of National Foster Care Day

National Foster Care Day is part of a larger celebration of the efforts of foster parents, community care workers, and the people of the foster care system. This celebration takes place throughout May.

National Foster Care Day and National Foster Care Month are maintained by various organizations, including the Children’s Bureau, National Foster Youth Institute, Child Welfare Information Gateway, Foster Club, and the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth, among others.

National Foster Care Day is an important day that acknowledges the efforts of foster parents but also recognizes their limitations. Foster parents are honored for their contributions while being aware that they are no substitute for parents when it comes to children’s welfare. The role of foster parents, as part of the state’s support system for children without guardians, is highlighted to underline the fact that they are not destined to be long-term families for children in the foster care system.

However, a great number of children in the system are not eligible for adoption for various reasons. Many spend far too long in the foster care system — remaining there until they turn 18 and legally become adults. At that point, they are no longer wards of the state and frequently have no support systems as they transition into adulthood. It is these young adults who are also remembered on National Foster Care Day, and attempts are made to recognize their struggles and identify solutions to their problems.

National Foster Care Day timeline

1800s
The U.S. Foster Care System Starts

Seeing the number of orphaned children living in New York, a man named Charles Loring Brace decides to take the children off the streets and send them to live with families.

1890
The Children’s Aid Society is Established

Charles Brace’s sons take over their father’s work and continue to work through the Children’s Aid Society to help orphaned children.

1997
The Adoption and Safe Families Act

Based on the work of the Children’s Aid Society, the modern system of foster care is defined and set in place through this federal act.

2000s
An Analysis and Reporting System

The government’s Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (A.F.C.A.R.S) takes responsibility for tracking the data on children in foster care, as well as their progress through the system.

National Foster Care Day FAQs

What color ribbon represents foster care?

Wearing a light blue ribbon throughout May signifies your support for children in foster care.

Can you work full time and foster?

If you’re caring for school-age children, it may be possible to work full-time, but that decision will be made by the fostering service.

Why do foster parents quit?

The majority of foster parents quit due to a lack of support.

How to Observe National Foster Care Day

  1. Spread information about fostering

    Foster care isn’t for everyone, but people who may be considering fostering a child might be hesitating because of a lack of information. Spread the word among your friends and family about the foster care system and how they can be a part of it.

  2. Support a foster parent

    Work with your community leaders to help foster parents in your neighborhood. Pitch in with food, babysitting, or other services.

  3. Consider becoming a foster parent

    Foster parents provide incredible support to our childcare system, and it can be incredibly rewarding. So, if you have the time, means, and inclination, consider signing up to be a foster parent.

5 Interesting Facts About National Foster Care

  1. There are thousands in foster care

    As of 2016, about 420,000 children were part of the foster care system in the United States.

  2. California has the highest numbers

    California has nearly twice as many children in foster care as New York, with about 55,000 children registered in foster care in 2012.

  3. Many foster children develop P.T.S.D.

    Despite the best efforts of the caregivers, being in foster care is traumatic, and as many as 30% of children develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (P.T.S.D.).

  4. Maryland was put under a consent decree

    In 1984, it was ruled that Maryland hadn’t been meeting the needs of the children in foster care, so the state’s program was put under a consent decree in 1988.

  5. The Act that facilitated adoptions

    After the Adoption and Safe Families Act was passed, children became eligible for being adopted after spending a certain amount of time in foster care.

Why National Foster Care Day is Important

  1. We love kids

    National Foster Care Day is an important day to recognize the struggles of children in foster care, and the effort made by foster parents. It also draws attention to how we can improve the conditions foster children find themselves in.

  2. We want to help the foster care system

    We believe that foster parents and everyone else involved in the system are doing their best, and we want to help out. There are various ways of helping, such as offering funding or donations.

  3. We want to spread awareness

    A lot of people aren’t aware of the struggles of the foster care system. By sharing this information, we get one step closer to solving the problems at hand.

National Foster Care Day dates

YearDateDay
2022May 3Tuesday
2023May 2Tuesday
2024May 7Tuesday
2025May 6Tuesday
2026May 5Tuesday

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