stock photo of a foster family in DC
The following was written by Latin American Youth Center’s Amaris Montes.
If your child’s school has at least 100 kids in attendance, have you ever looked around and thought–“At least one of these kids is in foster care?” If you haven’t, you should start to. One in every 100 kids living in DC is in foster care; That is 1% of all children and youth in DC. They often go unnoticed and face unique challenges that are largely not addressed.
Take seven year old Felicia: She came into the foster care system after sexual assault by a family friend caused her to be separated from her biological mother. While her mother tries to improve her living conditions as best she can, is taking parenting classes, and works long hours at a restaurant so that Felicia can return to her care, Felicia lives with a foster parent. She lives with a loving single parent, Ms. Alanzo, who provides all the care and resources a normal parent would. Felicia understandably feels a mix of emotions–too many to process at just seven years old–and works them out by having excessive tantrums, ignoring her work at school, and needing a massive amount of attention. Her school is less than understanding of this behavior, threatening to kick her out of school if she doesn’t change her behavior. If this were to happen, Felicia would fall even more behind, lose the little continuity she has in her life, and her ability to trust and attach to adults and peers would be further jeopardized.
There are about 1,000 children in DC living in a foster home. May is National Foster Care Month, so during this month, we hope all DC residents take a moment to recognize that not all the children you see around your neighborhood have safe, stable homes. If you have ever thought about becoming a foster parent, please contact the Latin American Youth Center’s Foster Care Program today at [email protected]