It was just a year ago that the Korean American Family Services joined forces with the Los Angeles County’s Department of Children and Family Services to create a recruiting system and training course for potential Korean-American foster families. Korean Times US reports that the first group of graduates of the 33-week program are ready for foster children.

With nearly 800,000 children removed from their homes annually, and only 240,000 foster families to care for them, the need for loving foster homes is great. There is particular need for culturally strong Korean-American families to foster children of the same heritage. Many of these children being removed from their homes haven’t even learned English yet.

Before the initiative began there were no licensed Korean-American foster homes. Now there are 16. This means that children will be able to understand the language, eat the food they’re used to, and be placed in a home that is culturally similar to what they know. The impact will be great. Trauma, anxiety, fright — they all exist in the hearts and minds of young ones being taken from their homes. With Korean-American families willing to foster these children now, those negative emotions should be minimized.

The Park family spoke with Korean Times US about their experience in the Korean Foster Family Initiative. Having raised two children, their home was beginning to feel a little empty. They had never considered foster care. But when they saw an advertisement for the program, Christina Park and her husband Se-hong decided it might be a good thing to do. Being among the first to graduate from the program, Christina and Se-hong are anxiously awaiting the arrival of their first foster child.