HARRISBURG, Pa., May 13, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Department of Public Welfare is recognizing May as Foster Care Month in Pennsylvania.
At an awareness event today in Harrisburg, "Walk a Mile in a Foster Child's Shoes," the department was joined by the Pennsylvania State Resource Family Association; Together as Adoptive Parents; and country music star, Jimmy Wayne. Shoes were placed on the capitol steps representing the 14,000 children in the foster care system in Pennsylvania. The shoes will be donated to the Salvation Army.
"Right now there are too many children leaving the foster care system without a support system in place to help them succeed," Acting Secretary Beverly D. Mackereth said. "Even though most children are in foster care temporarily, every child deserves a loving, nurturing and permanent home, where they feel cared for, safe and supported."
"Our goal is to reunite foster children with their birth families whenever possible, but in situations where this is not possible, we want a stable and loving environment for the child," Executive Director of the Pennsylvania State Resource Family Association Kathy Ramper said. "Older children who come into the foster care system are more vulnerable to aging out of the system and left without a place to call home; this is why we need more families willing to help."
Currently, there are 14,000 children in foster care; 6,292 of which are aged 13 or older. While most children will be able to return to their birth family, there is still a great need for foster families in Pennsylvania, especially for older youth.
To apply to be a foster family, individuals must be at least 21 years of age. To ensure the child's safety, background checks and child abuse clearances are required for everyone in the foster home aged 14 and over. Additional evaluations and training are required.
"It takes a special person to open their home and heart for a child in crisis, but it will mean a world of difference for that child," Mackereth added.
Media contact: Carey Miller or Anne Bale, 717-425-7606
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare