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CHAMPAIGN – May is Foster Parent Appreciation Month, and State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is extending his appreciation to those who help enhance the lives of children and youth in foster care, as well as encouraging community members to consider becoming a foster parent.

“May is a great time to recognize the role foster parents play by providing safe havens and stable homes for our youth in need,” Bennett said. “Please take a moment to thank the foster families in our community for a job well done and consider making the commitment yourself to foster a child in need.”

Today, there are just over 21,000 youth living in foster care in the state. Of that number, 8,200 are living with foster families, 11,300 with relatives, and 1,200 in group homes and institutions. The need for foster parents is growing, and there are many types of foster care, including traditional care, emergency/shelter care, medical/therapeutic care, relative/kinship care, respite/short-term care, and tribal care. 

Foster parents must be at least 21 years old and can be married, in a civil union, single, divorced or separated. They can work full- or part-time, go to school, or be a stay-at-home parent, and can rent or own their own home.

“By opening their hearts and homes, foster parents give vulnerable children the stability and connections to community, friends and family members they need to thrive,” said Illinois DCFS Acting Director Marc D. Smith. “They are an invaluable part of the child welfare team; and we could not do the work of keeping children safe without them.”

Currently, foster homes are needed for sibling groups, adolescents, African American and Latino youth, children with special medical needs, teenage mothers and their babies, and LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex) youth. A complete list of youth in need of foster families can be found at the Heart Gallery of Illinois website.

To learn more about becoming a licensed foster parent, fill out the online interest form on the DCFS website. Click on Loving Homes, then click on Become a Foster or Adoptive Parent.

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Champaign, IL 61820
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