FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 23, 2023
MEDIA CONTACT: Bob Wheaton, 517-241-2112, WheatonB@
Michigan has increased need for people to care for children as state marks Foster Care Month
LANSING, Mich. – It does Cheryl Harrison’s heart good when the teenage girls she fosters bond so much that they call each other “sisters.” Linda and Kelly Young hold family meetings to make sure everyone is on board before they welcome a new foster child into their home.
Michigan urgently needs more loving foster parents like Harrison, of Wayne County, and the Youngs, of Branch County, to temporarily care for children while the state works to reunify them safely with their biological parents.
“You have to always show children your strength and they will know to never give up,” said Harrison, who likes to foster teenagers because she can see the positive impact she has on both their current actions and their futures.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has proclaimed May to be Foster Care Month in Michigan. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) during the month is recognizing foster families for their contributions while raising awareness of the need for more foster homes. There are about 10,000 children in foster care in the state. There is a particular need for families to foster older children, sibling groups and youth with special needs.
“Foster parents play a tremendously important role in our efforts to keep kids safe,” said Demetrius Starling, senior deputy director of the MDHHS Children’s Services Administration. “I appreciate the love and support that Michigan’s 4,300 licensed foster families provide to children who need temporary homes until they can be safely reunified with their parents or adopted if it’s not safe for them to return home.”
In April, the department announced its Keep Kids Safe Action Agenda, which includes more than 20 protocols and policies to improve the safety and well-being of Michigan children. Having enough loving foster homes to meet the needs of children is a key to keeping them safe.
MDHHS is addressing an increased need for foster parents due to the department’s commitment to provide family homes for children and reduce the use of congregate care settings, as well as a significant loss of foster homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Harrison won the Foster Family Excellence Award as part of Foster Care Month.
The Youngs this month received the Adoption Excellence Award from MDHHS. The couple have been foster parents for more than 22 years and have adopted multiple children. “We learned long ago that life is full of challenges, but we are fortunate to be able to impact these challenges in a positive way and imprint hope in kiddos’ lives,” Linda Young said.
Anyone interested in becoming a foster parent can call a Foster Care Navigator at 855-MICHKIDS or visit www.fcnp.org. Navigators are experienced foster care parents who can answer questions and guide prospective foster parents on their journey. Learn more at www.michigan.gov/
Please see attached photos of Cheryl Harrison and the Young family.