About National Foster Care Month

National Foster Care Month is an initiative of the Children's Bureau. Each May, we take time to raise awareness of issues related to foster care and acknowledge the parents, family members, foster parents, child welfare and related professionals, mentors, policymakers, and other members of the community who help children and youth in foster care find permanent homes and connections. 

View information about the National Foster Care Month initiative and the Children's Bureau's commitment to engaging youth and helping them leave care with strengthened relationships, concrete supports, and opportunities. 

How does the Children's Bureau support National Foster Care Month? 
Together with its information service, Child Welfare Information Gateway, and a host of other Federal, State, and local partners, the Children's Bureau builds awareness for National Foster Care Month through a dedicated website that includes resources, stories, and outreach tools to help you spread awareness at the State and local levels. Read the Children's Bureau message to learn more about the agency's commitment to better supporting transition-age youth. 

What resources will be available on the National Foster Care Month website? 
Resources on the National Foster Care Month website emphasize ways in which child welfare and related professionals can work collaboratively to support young people who are preparing to leave foster care as they plan for what's next. This includes resources that touch on the importance of engaging youth in their own transition planning, starting conversations with youth about their future in the early teenage years, and emphasizing the positive impact of lifelong connections on long-term well-being. Resources also highlight federally funded services that can help improve outcomes for transition-age youth by opening the door to safe and stable housing, health care, education, job training, and other necessary supports. View the resources.

What is the Reflections: Stories of Foster Care series? 
Each year, the National Foster Care Month website features stories from families, youth, and caseworkers in which they share their experiences with foster care. These inspiring narratives and videos are a powerful way to shape public opinion and motivate and inspire individuals to act. They can also be used to help child welfare professionals and others understand the challenges associated with foster care and identify new ways to approach their work with children, youth, and families. View the stories

How can I promote National Foster Care Month in my community? 
Download this year's outreach toolkit to have access to a number of tools you can use to help spread the word about National Foster Care Month, including the following: 
•    Key facts and statistics 
•    Sharable graphics
•    Sample social media posts 
•    Email signatures and sample messaging 
•    Sample proclamations 
See sample events for ideas on how you can take action in your community! 

National Foster Care Month (NFCM) in May is an important opportunity to spread the word about the needs of the more than 391,000 children and young people in foster care. This year's NFCM theme—"Engaging Youth. Building Supports. Strengthening Opportunities."—shines a light on how we can best support young people and help them successfully transition to adulthood. This theme mirrors one of the Children's Bureau's highest priorities: ensuring young people leave care with strengthened relationships, holistic supports, and opportunities.

Nearly 20,000 young people transition out of the foster care system each year without a permanent family. In talking with young people who have experienced the foster care system firsthand, I've heard consistently how challenging it is to transition out of foster care, especially without the appropriate support. Giving young people the resources they need to succeed as adults begins during their time in care. It is crucial that we use that time to engage young people in case planning, help them build and nurture important relationships, and gain equitable access to the opportunities that all young people deserve.

Holistic transition planning is one way we can ensure young people have the tools they need to succeed. Planning for the transition to adulthood is an important goal of case planning for all young people in foster care. Still, it sometimes falls short of preparing young people for the emotional, psychological, and developmental aspects of transitioning from care. Taking a holistic approach to these plans and starting conversations with young people about their future in their early teenage years—not a few months before they turn 18—can make a huge difference. Moreover, young people want to have lasting connections to the people in their lives who have shown up consistently for them, and we need to encourage and support this. In our conversations, young people have been clear that they know who is in their circle of family members, which may very well include people to whom they are not biologically related. We all know how much richer life can be when we have lasting bonds and lifelong connections.

This NFCM, we invite you to join us in raising awareness of the hundreds of thousands of children and young people in foster care and committing to doing more to support them. We encourage you to explore the resources and stories on the NFCM website and share them with your networks. As always, thank you for your ongoing commitment to serving children and young people.    

In unity,

Aysha E. Schomburg

The Children's Bureau, an agency within the Administration for Children and Families of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, provides discretionary funds for projects to support the safety, permanency, and well-being of children, youth, and families while they are engaged with the foster care system. This page provides a brief overview of several grant recipients working to build the capacity of child welfare professionals and resource families to authentically engage young people, help them prioritize the development of lifelong connections, and help youth leave care with strengthened relationships, concrete supports, and opportunities. 

Quality Improvement Center on Engaging Youth in Finding Permanency (QIC-EY)
Led by Spaulding for Children and including four national partners and several implementation sites, the QIC-EY works to make systemic changes in how child welfare systems authentically engage children and youth, as reflected in intentional shifts in policy, practice, and culture. The QIC-EY aims to transform how child welfare and professionals center their work around children and youth and help them authentically engage children and youth throughout their time in the child welfare system. 

National Quality Improvement Center on Tailored Services, Placement Stability, and Permanency for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, and Two-Spirit Children and Youth in Foster Care (QIC-LGBTQ2S)
The QIC-LGBTQ2S was a 5-year grant established to develop, integrate, and sustain best practices and programs that improve outcomes for children and youth in foster care with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions (SOGIE). The QIC-LGBTQ2S materials are now housed on the National SOGIE Center website. 

The Improving Child Welfare Through Investing in Families Grant
Through a partnership with the Children’s Bureau, several implementation sites are working to provide an array of kinship preparation services and supports and promote shared parenting relationships between all out-of-home caregivers and parents of children and youth in foster care. 

National Quality Improvement Center of Family-Centered Reunification (QIC-R)
Through a partnership with the Children's Bureau and several implementation sites, the QIC-R supports the timely, stable, and lasting reunification of families with children in foster care. Resources available on the QIC-R website touch on the importance of meaningful connections and the positive impact that helping children and youth maintain familial and cultural connections can have on overall well-being. 

National Training and Development Curriculum for Foster and Adoptive Parents (NTDC) 
NTDC is a comprehensive no-cost curriculum that provides potential foster, kinship, and adoptive parents with the information and tools needed to parent children who have experienced trauma, separation, or loss. This cutting-edge resource offers culturally relevant and flexible education to support them through classroom-based and on-demand training.