The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) wants to raise awareness of that need during May, which is Foster Care Awareness Month. The department also wants to inform prospective foster parents about actions that are being taken to protect them and the children who are in foster care from COVID-19.
"During the coronavirus pandemic, many Michigan families continue to provide safe and loving homes to Michigan children in foster care," said JooYeun Chang, executive director of the Children's Services Agency in the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. "Foster families from around the state have shown tremendous grace and flexibility during these uncertain times. MDHHS provides resources to families to keep them together whenever possible, but placement in foster care may be necessary when a child is not safe at home."
While MDHHS is thankful for the families who are already caring for youth in foster care, there is always a need for more families to open their hearts and homes to fostering, even during the pandemic.
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Michigan has approximately 12,500 children in foster care. Children of all ages who have been victims of abuse and neglect need temporary foster homes to care for them until they can be safely reunified with their parents or – in a smaller number of cases – until they can find adoptive homes if it's not safe for them to return home.
During the pandemic, MDHHS is informing prospective foster parents of a child's health status prior to placement. The department is also asking health screening questions of all household members in a foster family before placement. MDHHS has changed policies to temporarily decrease in-person contact and put practices in place to help keep everyone healthy and safe.
The first step to becoming a foster parent is contacting a Foster Care Navigator.
Navigators are experienced foster parents who can answer questions, help individuals find an agency that's right for them and provide guidance along their journey to becoming a foster parent. They can be reached at 855-MICHKIDS. Foster Care Navigators are ready to assist families thought the foster homes licensing process.
To learn more about foster care, visit www.michigan.gov/HopeforaHome.
Information around the COVID-19 outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.
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