This year’s theme, “Strengthening Minds. Uplifting Families.” highlights the need to take a holistic
and culturally responsive approach to supporting the mental health needs of those involved with child welfare.
There are many ways to recognize and thank the foster parents who work every day to provide a stable home for the children and youth in foster care. Not only today, but every day, we should recognize and celebrate foster parents for the essential role they play in the development, healing, and success of youth in foster care. As we celebrate foster parents today, we must keep in mind that while their job is an important one, it is certainly not easy. Foster parents not only face their own personal and emotional stress that come as part of the job, but many take on this role without receiving adequate training, support, and the respect they deserve.
There are over 391,000 children and youth in foster care. Mental and behavioral health is the largest unmet health need for these children and teens.
To meaningfully address the mental health needs of children, youth, and young adults in foster care requires a holistic approach that focuses broadly on their well-being within the contexts of home, family, school, work, and community.
Investing in culturally appropriate mental health supports that recognize an individual’s identity, culture, and lived experience may significantly improve the effectiveness of services and supports and improve long-term outcomes for children and youth.
Relational permanency is fundamental to the well-being of children and youth in foster care. Having stable, nurturing placements has positive impacts on children and youth’s resilience and long-term well-being.