Foster care is hard. How traumatic is it for a child to be pulled from their home, from their environment, sometimes from their school, and be placed with foster parents that they have never met before? It would be extremely traumatic for the child for they are not only experiencing the loss of their parents but a change in environment. But, will it be a good match? Will the foster parents be able to meet the child’s needs?
Some children become eligible for adoption in the foster care system and become adopted by their foster parents, but some don’t. But either way, reunion or adoption is usually a long and lonely road. That is why the organization, Foster Care Counts, was started.
Foster Care Counts was started in 2012 by Jeanne Pritzker when she organized a small core team of volunteers to make sure foster youth felt loved and remembered. Their mission states: “Foster Care Counts improves the lives of youth in foster care and ensures they thrive. We partner with care and advocacy organizations to address the gaps in service and impediments to success and target ways to boost outcomes. Together, we ignite initiatives to empower foster youth, improve access to valuable resources, and incite change on their behalf.”
The organization partners with DCFS agencies (Division of Child and Family Services) and provide services for foster youth and their families. One event that recently took place was on Mother’s Day. It was an event where foster families came and had fun together with food, spa services, face painting, and balloons
In addition to holding events such as this one that took place on Mother’s Day, Foster Care counts works for awareness and community building, education and employment, and leveraging technology. The organization cares for the over 425,000 children and youth in foster care. They also state that 26,000 youth age out of care each year with minimal or no support. The statistics report that very few attend and even less graduate from college, there is a high teen pregnancy rate, and many fall into the homeless population. Foster Care Counts is doing wonderful work by coming alongside these youth and “leveling the playing field for our foster youth.”