National Foster Care Month is an initiative of the Children's Bureau. Each May, we take time to acknowledge foster parents, family members, volunteers, mentors, policymakers, child welfare professionals, and other members of the community who help children and youth in foster care find permanent homes and connections. We use this time to renew our commitment to ensuring a bright future for the more than 407,000 children and youth in foster care, and celebrate those who make a meaningful difference in their lives.

In this section, you can find information about the National Foster Care Month initiative, including information about the Children's Bureau's commitment to prioritizing foster care as a service to families and promoting reunification.


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Children's Bureau History With Foster Care

Throughout its 110-year history, the Children's Bureau has focused on improving the lives of children and families. Read below to learn how this focus led to the creation of National Foster Care Month and formed the basis for what the initiative is today.


Before the creation of the Children's Bureau, child welfare and foster care were mainly in the hands of private and religious organizations.


The Children's Bureau published Minimum Standards of Child Welfare, which affirmed the importance of keeping children in their own homes whenever possible and, when that was impossible, providing a "home life" with foster families.


The Children's Bureau published "Foster-Home Care for Dependent Children", an acknowledgment of the growing preference for foster family care over institutional care.


During World War II, when more than 8,000 children were evacuated from Europe to the United States, the Children's Bureau oversaw their temporary placement in U.S. foster homes.


The Children's Bureau published "The Rights of Foster Parents" in its journal, Children. That same year, the Children's Bureau sponsored the National Conference of Foster Parents.


The Children's Bureau sponsored—and President Nixon proclaimed—National Action for Foster Children Week to raise awareness of the needs of children in foster care and recruit more foster parents. The following year, Children published "The Bill of Rights for Foster Children."


President Reagan issued the first Presidential proclamation that established May as National Foster Care Month.


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National Foster Care Month 2022 Children’s Bureau Message

Written by Aysha E. Schomburg, Associate Commissioner of the Children’s Bureau

Every child deserves to keep the meaningful connections they have with their relatives. This National Foster Care Month, the Children's Bureau is focusing on these connections and the important role kinship care has in the foster care system. Our theme this year, "Relative and Kin Connections: Keeping Families Strong," speaks to the positive impact relative and fictive kin have during the journey to permanency. Families are more than experts on their own lives, they are a source of stability and comfort. However, when a child cannot safely stay with their parents, kinship care must be the first path we take.

As foster care is a support to families, children should stay with family when possible. In many cultures, the "village" approach has been a longstanding value, and extended family is important to the development of children who feel surrounded by love and the continuation of cultural traditions. Whether formally through child welfare or informally through family arrangements, kinship care maintains bonds and reduces trauma. These bonds help children and youth develop their identity, live within their cultural roots, and foster a sense of belonging—all things that are essential to their well-being.

Children and youth in care aren't the only ones who need our support. Kinship caregivers are responding to immediate family placement needs, so it is important to ensure our support is swift, tailored, and equitable. The aunts, uncles, cousins, family friends, and grandparents who open their homes and provide a sense of normalcy need and deserve equitable support. We must work to ensure kinship caregivers aren't held back by inequitable licensing standards. We must make sure these caregivers have concrete supports—like Federal funding through title IV-E. Currently, there are programs across the country dedicated to supporting and raising awareness about kinship care and pertinent resources. From family finding to financial assistance, these efforts are critical for families in need, and we should be informed on what is available so that we may connect families to them.

Thank you for visiting our National Foster Care Month website. It is an extension of our efforts towards making foster care a support for families. I encourage you to take advantage of the many resources that have been highlighted here. Thank you for being a dedicated partner in the mission to keep families together.

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Children's Bureau Partners

Each year, the Children's Bureau, together with Child Welfare Information Gateway, partners with thought leaders, advocates, and ambassadors from select Federal, State, Tribal, and local agencies and organizations connected to foster care to plan and develop the National Foster Care Month campaign.



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