2018-08-09 / Local News

Here’s how you can help

Foster care is a critical service.

With numbers of children in care now higher than they have been in a decade, the most recent report released by the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) stated there were 437,465 foster children in the United States.

Child & Family Services (CFS) is one agency serving foster parents in Leelanau County.

“CFS is serving more than 100 children in foster care at any given time,” said CFS marketing and development specialist Amanda Elliott. “Over the years, we have served more than 15,000 children in foster care and helped create about 3,500 new families through adoption.”

Suttons Bay resident Sara Caldwell is the mother of one of these families. She adopted four children through the CFS foster care program.

“I think because of changes our society is going through, the family is not supported like it was years ago. The drug epidemic, what we’ve gone through economically - families are struggling, and children are paying the price,” Caldwell said.

“Foster parents are able to provide that structure. It fills the gaps that are needed,” she added.

Children come into the foster care system for a variety of reasons. Most often however, the birth family is in crisis and unable to provide a safe home for their child(ren). “CFS works with state agencies to find safe homes for children and to help parents resolve the issues that made their home unsafe. Family reunification in a safe home is always the goal of foster care,” Elliott said.

“We believe that kids grow best in families. Providing a safe, loving home for children in need can be a profoundly rewarding, but vitally important, experience,” she added. “Our foster parents are on the front lines working the 24/7 job of caring for someone else’s children. They are our most valuable partners and are critical to a child’s healing process. It is foster parents who are there during some of the most challenging times in a child’s life and their love and support show children they are not alone.”

If you are interested in becoming a foster parent or learning more about the process, visit the Child & Family Services website.

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