Children who reside in foster care often come into care scared, lonely, and feeling isolated. With the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping across the globe, these children are once again scared, lonely, and feeling isolated. This time, they have the support, guidance, and love of their foster parents to help them through yet another difficult period in their lives.

Foster parents may not receive the recognition being given to other frontline workers, but their role is nonetheless vital. They are the heroes to the more than 400,000 children and adolescents residing in foster homes in the United States, including more than 13,000 in Pennsylvania.

Each May National Foster Care Month is celebrated to recognize those who open their hearts and their homes and make personal sacrifices to make children’s lives and our society better.

All of us have experienced a ‘new normal’ during these trying and challenging times, but foster parents and their foster children have unique experiences and challenges that many have not experienced and cannot comprehend.

These selfless people who open their homes make personal sacrifices are more than just caretakers for children and adolescents with histories of complex trauma. They are working on a daily basis with fragile children and adolescents who have experienced childhood neglect or abuse, and witnessed or experienced domestic or community violence.

Now more than ever, these foster parents are trying to build and maintain a daily routine that helps support a sense of predictability and control; provide opportunities for these children to experience moments of choice and control; support their efforts to maintain connection with peers as well as family members outside the home; and support them in identifying personal sources of positivity, inspiration, comfort, and joy.

Founded in 1978, CONCERN is a multi-service private non-profit 501(c)(3) human services organization dedicated to providing child welfare, juvenile justice, and behavioral health services to children, adults, and their families. Over the past 42 years, CONCERN has been at the forefront of innovative programs to meet the individual needs of the child and to promote the strengthening of the family unit. Since this time, CONCERN has served more than 17,000 children and youth in placement services, including assisting with the placement of nearly 2,000 children into adoptive families, and more than 35,000 individuals through a continuum of behavioral health services.

For more information about CONCERN and to learn more about becoming a foster parent, please visit us at www.concern4kids.org.

Art Silverman is the director of Fundraising & Marketing at CONCERN, located at One West Main Street, Fleetwood.

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