Today, Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-Miramar) made the following statement in recognition of National Foster Care Month, which is observed each May to raise awareness about the challenges that are faced by children in the foster care system:
"Every year, nearly 30,000 young adults leave the foster care system at the age of 18 without the support of a permanent family. As these young people transition out of the system, they are at a higher risk for unemployment, poor educational opportunities, health issues, increased rates of incarceration, and homelessness.
"I am honored to be involved in recognizing the tireless efforts of individuals working to improve the foster care system and in shedding light on the needs of foster youth. Approximately 400,000 American children are in need of safe and permanent homes because their own families are facing a crisis and are unable to care for them. The issues faced by young people in the foster care system and those coming out of it deeply concerns me. This is why I have been continually involved in raising awareness of issues facing the child welfare system for a number of years.
"Last month, I was proud to host a stop of the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth's nationwide listening tour where we learned first-hand about the challenges and successes of Florida's child welfare system from government officials, child welfare advocates, as well as current and former foster youth. My membership in the Caucus, along with my work with programs such as Angels in Adoption, have made me better aware of not only the problems facing the foster care system, but also the many people who have dedicated their lives to making it better. I am truly proud of the work being done in my Congressional district, and applaud the efforts of the countless individuals across the nation working to give foster youth a voice."
National Foster Care Month is an effort to raise awareness about the issues and challenges faced by children in the foster care system. The campaign encourages all citizens, from every walk of life, to become involved, whether as volunteers, foster or adoptive parents, mentors, or employers, so that all children can have safe, loving, and permanent homes.